Milton Keynes Dons' 21-year-old striker Sam Baldock has been named August's Young Player of the Month for the npower Football League in The Times newspaper's football supplement, 'The Game'.

The award follows a month in which the home grown hitman scored four times in five matches including a strike in the opening minute of the Dons' Carling Cup victory over Premier League Blackpool and a brace in the 2-1 victory over Swindon Town in npower League 1.

Aylesbury-born Baldock joined the club at the age of 14 and since making his debut in December, 2005 has scored 27 goals in 86 first team appearances. Baldock's younger brother George is also a second-year scholar with the Buckinghamshire club.

In receiving the award, Sam Baldock said: "The target of everyone at the club is promotion and personally I want to stay injury free and get as many goals and games under my belt as possible.

"I've always got confidence in my own ability and the manager and coaching staff have given me freedom to express my ability."

Each season, Football League clubs invest more than £40m on identifying, training and educating the next generation of football talent. Around a third of this money (£12.6m) is provided by the Football Association and Premier League. There are 8,700 young players registered with League clubs making Football League Youth Development the largest centrally co-ordinated young player programme in world football.

The Football League's Chief Operating Officer Andy Williamson said: "For a number of seasons now, Sam Baldock has been on the verge of making a real breakthrough at MK Dons.

"This season, everything seems to have clicked into place and he's become a real handful for defences in npower League 1.

"He's a natural goalscorer and another great example of the young talent being developed by Football League clubs through their Youth Development programmes."

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