On Wednesday Aiden McGeady's stellar season was paid the ultimate compliment.
Voted by his fellow League One professionals into the team of the season, just a night after the Sunderland Branches voted for him as their player of the year.
He will be a crucial figure as the Black Cats fight to keep their promotion hopes alive, returning to the side for the last two games and offering a constant threat.
That is all the more remarkable given the level of pain he is battling through.
"It's probably not the right thing to say because other teams can try and capitalise on it but against Accrington I've fractured a bone in my foot," he said.
"It was either my season was over or try and manage the pain. From day to day I've not really been training and then played, that's how it has been for the last two games.
"If I'm being totally honest, there's parts of the game where I don't feel myself because of the pain. The manager wanted to take the risk and I did as well, because I'm enjoying my season, enjoying playing.
"The manager obviously sees me as someone who could change the game. He's obviously OK with me lacking in some parts of my game due to the injury but if I can produce something that can get us closer to our goal at the end of the season, then he'll accept that. "
The Peterborough United draw has rocked Sunderland's hopes of securing a top-two finish but with Portsmouth to play on Saturday, all is far from lost.
McGeady admits the Black Cats will only have themselves to blame should they have to go into the play-offs, but insists that they will not be giving up.
"I hope so, I pray that there are [twists and turns]," he said.
"Ultimately, if we don't go up, it's our fault. At vital times in the season we've not won games or capitalized on the advantages that we've had.
"We drew with Burton at home, Portsmouth beat them. We lost to Coventry at home, Portsmouth beat them. Small margins like that could be season defining but we owe Portsmouth after Wembley and the game down there, we want to win that.
"If we don't win we can say goodbye to automatic promotion but we'll just have to win our three games and then see what happens.
"You can't pinpoint any one mistake or any one player. It's been a long, hard season, a lot of pressure and expectation on us because of the size of the club. But we're still there, still in with a chance."
McGeady was speaking after his player of the year award, something he admits shows how far he and the club have travelled in a year.
"Individual accolades are great to look back on, but it's obviously a team sport and of course I would swap this for us being promoted," he said.
"That's the main thing. I suppose if you probably reflect on the change and the whole circle the club has went on, and probably myself this season, I remember being here last here and it was a grim time for the club. Now, people are disappointed after the Peterborough result but it just shows how we're far we've come, the expectation compared to last season."