Arsenal loan centre-back Daniel Ballard has received a nomination for League One’s Player of the Month award for April.
The EFL announced their nominees for April’s Manager and Player of the Month awards on Tuesday, and Daniel Ballard made it into the latter category.
Ballard was one of four nominees, with the EFL writing “the on-loan youngster is a throwback of a defender who relishes a physical battle. He kept the prolific Charlie Wyke quiet as Blackpool gained two vital 1-0 wins over Sunderland with just five goals conceded in Ballard’s seven games.”
This won’t count towards the award, but Ballard is having a fantastic start to May as well. He’s helped Blackpool keep two clean sheets in two games to start the new month, and he was in the League One Team of the Week last weekend.
With the playoffs coming up, he has a chance to really end his loan spell on a high.
Ballard has now featured in a defence keeping 14 clean sheets in his 27 games, more than half of his appearances. He’s made himself an indispensable part of the back-line and will hope to help them secure a third-place finish this weekend.
Blackpool face bottom-of-the-league Bristol Rovers needing a win to guarantee third. That would mean taking on sixth place (rather than fourth or fifth) in the first game of the playoffs.
After that, Sunderland are their biggest competition for playoff success, so Ballard’s and Blackpool’s two clean sheets against the Black Cats in April will give them a lot of confidence.