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Development Player of the Year: The Contenders

10 May 2016


While the development squad finished fifth in the U21 Professional Development League 2 this season, playing a lot of youngsters who were more suited to life in the under-18s league, many of Palace’s under-21s flourished when out on loan and are in contention for this award.

During his two spells with Shrewsbury Town, Sullay Kaikai quickly became a crowd favourite at the Greenhous Meadow and reached double figures to try and keep his temporary side away from danger in League One. He was also named the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month for October after hitting four goals in five games.

Hiram Boateng meanwhile spent two spells with Plymouth Argyle who were seeking promotion to the third tier and impressed significantly enough to be recalled to Palace along with Kaikai around Christmas time, and made his Premier League debut during the Eagles’ 1-1 draw with Swansea City in February before returning to Devon to help them qualify for the League Two play-offs which take place this week. Luke Croll and Connor Dymond also made it onto the bench this season for the first-team against Watford and Bournemouth respectively.

Jake Gray has spent the majority of this season successfully battling relegation with Hartlepool United and has put in a number of fine displays for them this season, scoring some wonderful goals along the way. He hit seven in 12 games for the Eagles’ development side before making the move up north in November where he has successful helped them avoid relegation by scoring six goals in 37 appearances at Victoria Park.

Randell Williams also enjoyed success in front of goal for that side as he struck six times in 12 outings for Gary Issott’s outfit following his January move from Tower Hamlets, and Keshi Anderson looked to be on his way to an impressive season after scoring six in six games for the under-21s and then showing what he could do in the Football League with Doncaster Rovers before a knee injury ended his season prematurely.

To take a look at all the previous winners of the award, stretching back to 1983, click here.

Don't forget that tickets are still available for the event which takes place at the Odeon at Leicester Square on Thursday, starting at 7pm. To buy yours, please click here.

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