Ritchie: Player of the Year award 'a great achievement'

Matt Ritchie

Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie says being named League One Player of the Year is a "great achievement".

Ritchie was a key player in Swindon's promotion push earlier this season before signing for the Cherries in January.

The 23-year-old becomes the first player to win the award in two different divisions having been named League Two Player of the Year in 2012.

"I didn't expect it if I'm honest," Ritchie told BBC Radio Solent.

"I was a little bit surprised that I was in the top three so to win it I was shocked.

"The best thing about it is to have the recognition of your fellow professionals, managers and people inside the game. It's a great achievement.

"I want to be a Championship player and I'll just keeping working hard and hopefully this season I can do that with Bournemouth."

Ritchie won the title over Coventry's Leon Clarke and Notts County's Alan Judge after scoring nine league goals for Swindon in 27 appearances, including a brace against Bournemouth in September.

And after a move to the Goldsands Stadium in the winter transfer window, Ritchie opened his account for Bournemouth, who also celebrated being named Football League Family Club of the Year for League One, in the 4-1 win over Bury on Saturday.

Boss Eddie Howe says Ritchie has become a key part of his Bournemouth side after providing cover in defence for injured left-back Charlie Daniels earlier in the year.

Howe told BBC Radio Solent: "Hopefully having Matt available as a winger will be pivotal - we bought him to play in that position.

"He did excellent for us at left-back and it's good to know we've got that option up our sleeve.

"But first and foremost he's a goal scorer and a goal creator and he will only be too pleased to be back in his natural position and myself likewise."

Jermaine Beckford previously scooped the Player of the Year title for League One on two occasions, but no player had won the award in two different divisions, a feat Ritchie has now achieved in successive seasons.