Hines boosted by honour

Zavon Hines is continuing to work hard on his rehabilitation from a major knee injury and has been boosted by his Young Hammer of the Year award.

The 21-year-old striker was delighted to be singled out for the honour at the club's end of season awards and then to receive his trophy on the pitch after the last match of the season. It was a rare break from his hours of effort at Chadwell Heath, with Hines determined to get back to action as soon as possible and impress new manager Avram Grant.

Hines, whose last appearance was on 5 December before he underwent an operation in January that would keep him out for several months, said: "This award gives me a boost because it makes me realise people haven't forgotten what I've done. I've just got to keep faith and I know that I'll come back stronger.

"I do feel like I've got a good relationship with the fans - I haven't been booed or anything! They've shown me love and I'm just thankful for that and that I haven't done anything to annoy them. When I come back, I'll do my best for them again."

Hines has joined an illustrious list of winners including Jack Collison (2009), James Tomkins (2008), Junior Stanislas (2007), Anton Ferdinand (2006) and Mark Noble (2005). The England Under-21 striker's progress was underlined by a dramatic late winner in the 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Aston Villa in November.

"I can't really sum up my feelings, to be honest," said Hines. "I'm a bit surprised because Jack, Tonks and Junior were up for it as well and they'd played more games than me and played well as well, but I'm also happy.

"I went out there and tried to do my best for the club because my feelings for the club are strong. Luckily enough, I did do well. I've been here since I was 15 and came through the Academy, and that Academy has helped me to win this award."

Hines put his progress down to the club's continued production line of youth talent and the confidence that familiarity breeds. "It's good to play with others who I've come through with, because they know my game and I know their games, so it's good for the team as well because we've got a good relationship."