Port Vale: Awards success is all relative for family man Loft
PRIZE guy Doug Loft puts his Player of the Year award down to a change of lifestyle.
The 25-year-old picked up Port Vale's main award, along with two others just for good measure, in front of at least 250 fans at Vale Park last night.
And while Loft was keen to thank the fans who voted for him, he was happy to reveal the reason for his run of form.
The midfielder-turned-defender became a father for the first time last summer and insists a happy family life has helped to improve his game.
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"Before we had the baby, I would go out for a couple of drinks now and again, but now there is a new focus," said Loft, who lives in Stone.
"I go home and help my wife, Laura, look after our baby every night. I just want to work hard for my family.
"I'm sure that has helped in the way I've been playing.
"I feel I have played quite well in the past, but this year I have been playing more consistently and I think that was a big factor in me winning these awards."
The versatile Loft was converted from a midfield regular into a solid full-back halfway through what became a turbulent season all round as boss Micky Adams sought to fill the gap created by the departure of Lee Collins to Barnsley.
But he took the switch in his stride to make a total of 43 appearances so far, with five goals to his name.
"I'm definitely a midfielder by trade and I prefer playing there, but I've enjoyed it in defence too," he added.
"The lads have been helping me, talking to me during games, and I have learned a lot.
"I still see myself as a midfielder, but I'm happy to play anywhere as long as I'm in the team."
The former Brighton player, who signed for Vale in June 2009, is one of only four players in the squad who have contracts that run beyond the summer.
Loft has a deal which stretches to the end of next season, but admits it could be a busy summer of comings and goings at the club.
"Hopefully, the gaffer will keep the squad we have now together as much as possible, and with a few additions next year could be a good one."
Louis Dodds' stunning volley which earned Vale a point at Bradford City in February was a worthy winner of the Goal of the Season award.
Skipper Marc Richards, who has found the net 16 times so far this season with one game to go, picked up the top scorer award for the third year in a row, while Glenn Jeneson, a member of the Vale Park ground staff, was named Clubman of the Year.
Finally, midfielder Anthony Griffith won the annual "Shirt Off Your Back" prize.