MICHAEL Doughty pledged his commitment to Swindon Town next season after being named as the club’s player of the year for the 2018-19 season by readers of the Swindon Advertiser.

The 26-year-old is the latest player to have his name engraved on the famous trophy, and will be presented with the award ahead of Saturday’s final game of the season – where Town hosts Notts County at the County Ground.

Doughty received exactly 50 per cent of votes cast by readers, with Kyle Knoyle runner-up on 17 per cent.

After signing a two-year deal with the club in late July, Doughty instantly made himself a fans’ favourite when netting a hat-trick against Macclesfield on the opening day of the League Two season – helping Town to reverse a 2-1 injury time deficit into a remarkable 3-2 win.

He went on to notch a further 11 goals in all competitions to become the club’s top goalscorer for the season - that’s despite having to deal with three individual injuries throughout the year.

Receiving Town’s player of the year award proved bitter-sweet for Doughty, who said he has faith he can be sitting in the company of ‘11 player of the year’ candidates in 12 months’ time with a promotion to his name.

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“I’ve never been one for these awards, probably because I’ve never won one before,” said Doughty.

“It is nice of course to have people recognise my contribution, and I’m very touched by that.

“But, without trying to be cliché, it really doesn’t mean as much as having success with the team – we are in a team sport.

“There is no better feeling than success – you can’t replicate it in any other industry or part of your life than having promotion.

“Ross Embleton (Leyton Orient, assistant coach), who I’m really friendly with, just experienced that whole feeling. I was speaking to him recently, and his feeling of pure joy.

“Although the accolade of winning Town Player of the Year is something to be incredibly proud of, I really want to make sure next year we’re sitting here talking about what an amazing year it has been – and that there are 11 players of the year.”

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Football League status and money were never key factors for the Westminster-born player when committing two years to Swindon in late July last year.

In fact, he revealed he had offers to play for ‘on paper’ better teams before signing on the dotted line for ex-Town boss Phil Brown.

He expected promotion, and is disappointed that hasn’t occurred.

But the well-spoken proven goalscorer has now reached a point in his career where making an impact on one place in particular is what drives him out of bed on a Monday morning.

That drive to make a difference and ambition to succeed remains printed in the mental picture Doughty has painted of what he believes the future can look like.

And Swindon remains a key part of that.

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“When I signed in late July, that (promotion) was my expectation,” admitted Doughty.

“I had several offers to go elsewhere, but I felt a connection with Swindon and the fans.

“I wanted to make a difference, and that ambitions and desire still stands. Sometimes in life – and football – you can get swept away to different experiences.

“But I feel incredibly committed to the club, more so than I have at any other club. The players have given their all, we’ve just fallen a bit short to be honest.”

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He isn’t searching for a pat on the back - far from it.

But Doughty hopes his words after learning he was voted player of the year will translate his genuine passion for the club across to the fans.

And make no secret of it, he has shoved for next season already.

“I’m all in,” added Doughty.

“I’m at the point in my life now where I’d rather make a difference in one place than have to move continually.

“I made a decision to come to Swindon because of my connection with the people. Sometimes footballers get a bad reputation, and understandably so.

“But certainly where my passion sits and my commitment to the club, I don’t think that can be questioned. It is my intention to be here next year.”

Katie Westcott was chosen at random as the winner of the readers’ prize of a signed Town match shirt and family ticket for four to tomorrow’s final game of the season at home to Notts County.

Westcott will also present the historic Adver Player of the Year trophy to Doughty at the County Ground prior to the match.