DEAN HOYLE believes Jordan Rhodes will build on his League I Player of the Year award by continuing to fire the goals which drive Huddersfield Town towards promotion.
It’s 33 and counting for the 22-year-old hot shot, who will head to Colchester on Saturday with Iwan Roberts’ post-War Town seasonal best of 34 firmly in his sights.
“It’s a great accolade and fully deserved, but I know Jordan would be the first to say the main objective is getting to the Championship,” said chairman Hoyle (inset).
“We took a gamble when we brought him in from Ipswich in 2009, because it wasn’t for peanuts, but it has certainly paid off handsomely.
“He’s getting better all the time and keeping hold of him in the January transfer window was very important for us.”
Manager Simon Grayson is optimistic full-back Jack Hunt, another of Town’s bright young guns, will be fit for Colchester after suffering an ankle and calf injury during Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with Rochdale, which left Town fourth.
Midfielders Damien Johnson and Oscar Gobern are both under treatment for hamstring injuries.
Grayson will be taking reports from Colchester’s home clash with second-placed Sheffield United tonight as he plots a third win in his sixth Town match.
See more on Jordan Rhodes from Dean Hoyle on next page
DEAN HOYLE hailed Jordan Rhodes after the Town hot-shot striker landed the League I Player of the Year award and predicted: “He will get better and better.”
The 22-year-old Scotland star, who is one off Iwan Roberts’ post-War club record of 34 goals in a season, was the pick of the division’s managers.
He received his prize at the Football League Awards ceremony in London, where Town also took the League I Family Club of the Year accolade.
And chairman Hoyle, who sanctioned the signing of Rhodes from Ipswich by then-manager Lee Clark in 2009, said: “It would have been near impossible not to give it to him.”
It’s been a remarkable campaign for the Holme Valley-based ace, whose goal haul includes five in one game against Wycombe in January.
Rhodes also hit four in the stalemate at Sheffield Wednesday in December having chalked up back-to-back hat tricks against Exeter and Preston in October.Related content
That month also featured a treble for Scotland Under 21s in Luxembourg, the first of six goals in seven games for Billy Stark’s side.
Rhodes, who was born in Oldham but qualifies for Scotland through the five years’ schooling rule, made his debut for the full national team against Cyprus in November.
“It’s been an amazing season, and hopefully, the achievements are not over yet, because we are all determined to win promotion,” said Hoyle.
“In my eyes, it was a simple choice, because Jordan has been a stand-out performer all season.
“The award is thoroughly deserved. The way he conducts himself both on and off the field means he is a credit to himself, his family and this club.
“He is a massive asset to us, and hopefully he will keep getting the goals which will lead us into the Championship.”
Town fended off transfer-window interest from a string of higher-level clubs to keep hold of Rhodes, who is under contract to 2015.
His goal against Rochdale on Saturday took his total Town tally to 78, the eighth-highest in the club’s history.
“It’s inevitable other clubs were looking, because he is an exceptional talent and still maturing,” added Hoyle, who refused to confirm reports Ipswich received an initial £400,000.
“We took a bit of a gamble in signing him, because it wasn’t for peanuts and he was relatively unproven.
“There were a series of add-ons built into the deal when he came here, but even so it’s paid off handsomely.
“I think missing out on a starting spot in last season’s play-off final against Peterborough has made him even more determined to succeed.
“His attitude both to playing matches and training is first-class and convinces me he will get better and better.
“He is proving his worth at international level as well, and Scotland must be rubbing their hands at having him at their disposal.”
See next page for a rundown of Jordan's career so far
1990: February 5, born Oldham. Spends much of his first eight years in Scotland, while father Andy plays as goalkeeper for Dunfermline, St Johnstone and Airdrie.
2005: March, having been on the books at Barnsley, joins youth set-up at Ipswich, where father Andy is goalkeeping coach.
2007: August, after impressing in Ipswich’s youth and reserve teams, signs two-year professional contract while still a second-year academy scholar.
October, loaned to Oxford, making senior debut as a substitute in Conference game at home to Torquay. Scores his first senior goals in 2-1 FA Cup qualifying win at Merthyr.
November, returns to Ipswich after three starts and one sub appearance for Oxford.
December, makes Football League debut as a substitute (for current Town teammate Alan Lee) in Ipswich’s home Championship clash against Burnley.
2008: April, comes off bench to score first Football League goal in Ipswich’s 1-1 home draw with Cardiff.
September, after two further sub outings for Ipswich, making it 10 appearances from the bench in total, joins League II Rochdale on loan, making a scoring debut in draw at Rotherham. Nets twice in five games in all.
2009: January, joins Brentford on loan. Scores seven goals in 14 appearances, becoming the London club’s youngest-ever hat-trick scorer in 3-1 win at Shrewsbury. Season is cut short by broken toe.
July, signs for Town on a four-year contract, causing upset among Ipswich supporters.
August, makes scoring debut in opening-day 1-1 League I draw at Southend.
October, makes history by netting the fastest all-headed hat trick of all time in Town’s 4-0 home win over Exeter, his 10-minute treble beating the previous best by the legendary Dixie Deans.
2010: May, finishes his first Town campaign as top scorer with 23 goals.
November, receives a Scotland Under 21 call-up for the clash with Northern Ireland, but withdraws because of Town’s FA Cup first-round replay against Cambridge.
2011: March, makes Scotland Under 21 debut in 1-0 defeat in Belgium.
May, double disappointment as Town lose 3-0 to Peterborough in League I play-off final at Old Trafford and Rhodes has to make do with appearance as sub.
His 22 goals make him Town’s top scorer for the second season running.