Linfield star Burns scoops fans’ Player of the Year award

Aaron Burns has had a top season for Linfield and has caught the affections of the club's  supporters.
Aaron Burns has had a top season for Linfield and has caught the affections of the club's supporters.

Banbridge-based Linfield star Aaron Burns has proved he has the X-Factor.

The 22-year-old has won a public vote on the club website to be named Player of the Year for 2014/15.

In true X-Factor style, the voting closed on Saturday night after the Blues ended their Danske Bank Premiership season with a 1-1 draw against Portadown at Shamrock Park.

Burns finished his campaign on a high note by hitting the Linfield equaliser which took his total goals for the season to 20.

The Ballygowan Road man was second top scorer for the Windsor Park club and also had the highest number of assists with 14.

After his impressive return, he was viewed as favourite for the player of the year prize, but Aaron told us modestly, “A number of my teammates were also in the running for the award and any of them would have been worthy winners.

“I’m just delighted so many fans voted for me - it’s a great honour.”

It was a four-way fight with the other players on the website shortlist: Mark Haughey and two previous winners, Jamie Mulgrew and top scorer Andy Waterworth.

Although Linfield have not had a great season collectively, on a personal level the award caps a memorable season for Burns who has attracted the attention of clubs across the water and also been tipped for a call-up to the Northern Ireland international squad.

The Blues finished without silverware in Warren Feeney’s first season in charge after they came second in the Irish Premiership, 10 points adrift of champions Crusaders and bowed out of the Irish Cup in the quarter-finals following a 3-2 defeat to finalist’s Portadown.

Aaron also runs Burns Soccer School with his twin brother Andrew, a defender with Dungannon Swifts.

Former Linfield player Andrew has also enjoyed a successful season, playing a key role to help the Swifts secure top flight survival for another year.

The twins were formerly full-time professionals with Premier League Leicester City but returned to Banbridge to establish their successful coaching academy and now work with young players across Northern Ireland.

It’s a big weekend for another Burns Soccer School coach, Portadown full-back Chris Casement.

The former Northern Ireland international is set to line out for the Ports in the Irish Cup final against Glentoran at the Oval.

Casement has been cleared to play in the decider after his controversial six-match ban for allegedly head-butting an opponent during a recent match against Dungannon was overturned on appeal.

Casement’s submission to the appeal hearing was supported by the Dungannon player involved, Terry Fitzpatrick.