West Allotment Celtic centre-back Stephen Little has picked up the player of the month award for February, after helping the side maintain their unbeaten start to the new year.
At the heart of the defence alongside player-manager Paul Stoneman, the former Killingworth stopper helped Allotment keep three clean sheets from a possible five last month. Stephen was particularly impressive against free-scoring Whitehaven, nullifying their attacking trio with his keen sense of positioning and timing.
With the 26-year-old ever-present on the pitch, Allotment conceded just three goals; one sweet long-distance strike from Chester-le-Street midfielder Michael Pattison, and two against tough Division One opponents Team Northumbria. The defender looks more assured with every passing performance, despite playing in just his second season at Celtic, and has been in the mix for previous monthly awards, but his consistency has been recognised by the management.
“If he can’t win the ball, he stands up, and realises that somebody could come and pinch it from the front if he can’t win the ball,” enthused manager and defensive partner Stoneman. “His performances have been excellent, and he’s been one of the few who hasn’t really had a rest. I would say that he’s probably been our best player, performance-wise.” Assistant manager Wilf Kielty added: “There’s a noticeable improvement from when he started. He didn’t have much Northern League experience, but he’s done really well in the past couple of months.”
Speaking recently about his form, Little said: “Last season, I wasn’t very consistent, but I feel as though I can get a good run at the minute. As long as I keep myself fit, I think I will do well. I’m quite happy with myself.” With this month’s award deservedly in his possession, the centre-half will undoubtedly be even happier. And he, along with the rest of the squad, will be happier still if Allotment can extend their unbeaten run into double figures in the coming weeks.