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February Vanarama National League Awards

Posted by National League
Posted on Wed 6 Mar 2024
Posted in League

It’s all about impact at this time of the season and there’s little doubt our winners have really left their mark after some big changes were made.

They say football is all about being in the right place at the right time, and Danny Searle won’t disagree with that statement.

Ebbsfleet United fans were desperately sad to say goodbye to title winning manager Dennis Kutrieb at the start of 2024.

After they couldn’t shake off a struggle a new face was needed, and with time on his hands Searle put his hands up to offer his services while the club’s search for a new manager started.

Sometimes the best things are under your nose the whole time and after a fine start, becoming the only club to take something from a trip to Chesterfield since August after holding free scorers Oldham Athletic a week before, the job was his.

But the best was yet to come after Fleet made their appointment. They defeated fellow strugglers Woking and Dorking Wanderers before topping off a great month by adding to Eastleigh’s issues.

It’s a far cry from how they ended January – defeat to bottom side Oxford City – and even if Manager of the Month Searle is quick to stress there’s still so much hard work ahead, he won’t play down their fine form.

So good were Gateshead last month that our panel had three of the Heed’s players to pick from.

In the end, Callum Whelan got the nod – and after a number of his team-mates and his manager stepped up to the EFL, he is sure to have caught the eye as well.

It was a brilliant four weeks for the club and the midfielder kept them picking up play-off points with two goals and two assists after they decided to make a tactical switch up.

Whelan is now so integral to their style and his off the ball work, regaining possession higher up the pitch, has seen him thrive since being pushed further up from his usual holding role.

He is excelling, scored against Kidderminster and Woking last month, edging out team-mate Marcus Dinanga for the accolade.

Now the talented 25-year-old has eyes for the main prize – and that’s promotion!

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