MICHAEL BAKARE admits winning the Welsh Premier League Player of the Season award was bittersweet.

The Connah's Quay Nomads striker was recognised for his efforts in a memorable campaign when he scored 17 goals in all competitions.

Those goals helped Andy Morrison's side challenge for the league title, eventually finishing runners-up to The New Saints, while Nomads also reached the final of both the Welsh Cup and the Irn Bru Cup.

Although pleased to land the top gong, Bakare admits it was disappointing that Nomads finished the season without any silverware.

"To be honest, I was a little bit surprised to win it," said Bakare.

"Obviously it is good that I won it and I am delighted but on the other side, I would have preferred to win the competitions we were in so it was bitter-sweet."

Bakare, who made eight league appearances for Wrexham during the 2016-17 season, was part of a Nomads side that were serious contenders for TNS' league crown.

The challenge faded during the run-in as their rivals clinched an eighth successive title but Bakare says Nomads can be proud that they gave it a good shot.

"We wanted to compete to win the league and we did that," said Bakare.

"It petered off for whatever reason but it showed that we could challenge.

"Only one team can win it but we were close to that was pleasing.

"We were tough, resilient and hard to beat. We are a team going places and we will go again next season.

"Hopefully we will be just as competitive, that is all you can ask for."

Despite being involved in a title fight, Nomads did not take their foot off the gas in the cup competitions.

They created history by reaching the Irn Bru Cup final - Bakare scored a stunning goal for Morrison's men in the showpiece which ended in a 3-1 defeat against Ross County - while Nomads also lost 3-0 to TNS in the Welsh Cup showpiece, and there was also a run to the semi-finals of the Word Cup.

"We have challenged on all fronts which is a sign of a good team," said Bakare.

"Every game we play, we want to be competitive.

"We will go again and really push the boundaries and if we get into that position next season, hopefully we will be on the right end of the result."

Next season will begin with the Europa League qualifiers and Nomads will discover their first round opponents later this month.

It is the fourth year in a row that Nomads have qualified for Europe, something Bakare is privileged to be involved in.

"Playing in Europe is great," said Bakare. "It is a different experience, travelling with the lads and preparing for a two-legged game.

"I don't know if Welsh teams know how privileged they are.

"People from where I come from don't have that level of awareness of Europe - they don't have the avenues to be able to play in Europe.

"Being able to play in Europe is unbelievable and is motivation to be even fitter, not just for the standard of our league but Europe as well."

Hackney-born Bakare, who is now based in Manchester, is preparing for a third season with Nomads and has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Flintshire club

"Connah's Quay were in Europe the year before I joined, which was the biggest appeal, but I did not know too much about them," said Bakare.

"Since I have been there it has been good.

"The manager has been good and the standard of players at the club is high."