DEFENDER Nathan Thompson has capped a season of exceptional progress by being voted the Swindon Advertiser Footballer of the Year.

The right-back received more than 60 per cent of the fans’ votes, beating keeper Wes Foderingham into second with Darren Ward and Simon Ferry tied in third place.

Thompson didn’t start a league game until the middle of September as initially Joe Devera took over from departed captain Paul Caddis, but since breaking into the side the youth team product has caught the eye with his tough tackling an no-nosense style.

The youngster was shocked to have picked up the award, and thanked every Town fan who voted for him.

“It was totally unexpected, and to think to come from where I was at the start of the season to end up being player of the year is incredible,” he said.

“I have been so happy with how it has gone this year for me, although I it is not great how it has ended, but I am over the moon to have won this award and I can’t thank the people who voted for me enough.

“I don’t think I featured for a single minute in the first few games, and then up at Stoke I was able to come on in extra time and I have gone from strength to strength ever since then.”

Thompson joins the likes of Don Rogers, John Trollope, Paul Bodin, Fraser Digby and last year’s winner Alan McCormack in picking up the award, and is proud of the progress he has made since graduating from the youth set-up at the County Ground.

“I have been here since I was 12-years-old so I have seen all the players pick up the player of the year award year after year, so to come out the youth team to then be the player of year is amazing,” he said.

“Hopefully the fans have enjoyed seeing someone come through the youth team and the fact I am a local lad, and I have always been praised for my tackling which is a big part of my game. I always give 100 per cent, and that is a big part of the way I play too, “At the start of the season I wasn’t always supporting my winger as much as I could and that has definitely got better, and I have grown in confidence so there has been a vast improvement in my game.

“Being part of a team pushing for promotion in the play-offs is great, and while it is me winning this award a lot of it is part to the rest of the team too.”

Thompson is currently wearing a protective boot as he recovers from an ankle injury which is keeping him out of action, but the defender is hopeful of making a return for the Robins’ play-off campaign if they make it.

“Hopefully I will be out of the boot sometime next week,and then we will see how it goes from there,” he said.

“I don’t think I will be available for the next two games, but with the play-offs I’m not so sure, so I will continue to work on it.

“Getting into the play-offs has been the aim all along, and I want to get back as soon as possible.”