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12 Jan 2018

SKY BET EFL MANAGER OF THE MONTH AWARDS: DECEMBER 17

The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Manager of the Month Awards for December are:

Sky Bet Championship: Gary Rowett (Derby County)

Derby County head coach Gary Rowett has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for December.

Rowett employed his tactical nous superbly to inspire a 16-point haul from six games with only one goal conceded. When December began, Derby were eight points off the automatic promotion places. When it ended, they were in them.

Rowett said: “It’s a great accolade for us, and I say us because although it’s me picking up the award, there’s a lot of people behind the scenes who’ve worked incredibly hard, my immediate staff that have been with me for a while plus the people we inherited at the club.

“I think the players have grown in belief and camaraderie throughout the season, and sometimes it takes a bit of time to create that synergy amongst the players because we’ve started the season with a lot of change in terms of new faces and players leaving.

“December was certainly a good month for us and you could see a lot of that work in action, we only conceded one goal in the whole month in six games, winning some really tough games on paper and performing really well.”

George Burley chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.

He said: “Gary was a very popular choice of manager for Derby County and he is showing how shrewd the appointment was.

“Their unbeaten December was rounded off with an impressive win at Portman Road which took them into the second automatic promotion place.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “After fending off reported interest from Stoke and securing Gary onto a new long-term contract at the club, Mel Morris will be a very happy man this week.

“One of the brightest English management talents in the game, I believe Gary is destined to have a career in the Premier League and it wouldn’t surprise many if that was with Derby after the terrific three months they have had.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Mikey Mumford said: “Gary Rowett is making a habit of picking up these awards and if he set the benchmark high when scooping the award in October, then Rowett must be applauded for his exploits in December where his Derby side won six, conceded just once and dropped only two points.

“This incredible run sees them occupy the automatic spot behind Wolves and Rowett’s philosophy of remaining grounded after a good run of form will be vital if his side are going to stay there until May.

“The Rams are 15/8 to go up automatically but at the very least Rams fans will expect a Play-Off spot, a 10/11 chance with Sky Bet.”

 

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Sky Bet League One: Paul Warne (Rotherham United)

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for December.

Warne’s men were one of the busiest teams in League One and hauled themselves back into the promotion picture as a result. Away wins at Blackpool, Bury and Walsall underpinned their total of 13 points from six games.

Warne said: "I’m honoured to pick up the award. I think it reflects what the team have achieved this month. The staff and the group we’ve got had a really good December, they really went to win every game we’ve played in and it’s set us up nicely for the New Year so we’re pretty pleased.

“We did a lot of work with them pre-season, had a good start to the season, had a little bit of a wobble and we’ve come back. They’ve really attacked the Christmas period with gusto and hopefully that will run into the New Year.”

George Burley chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.

He said: “Rotherham had a very successful month which has hauled them into Play-Off contention. Paul must have been proud of their away form during a busy Christmas schedule.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “When Paul Warne took the Rotherham job on an interim basis last season, they were cast adrift from the rest of the Championship with a massive rebuilding job to do.

“Initially not keen to take the job full time, he has grown into the role over the last 12 months and this award is recognition of a team transformed and moving in the right direction once more.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Mikey Mumford said: “Warne masterminded an unbeaten December which included three away victories but perhaps most pleasing for the Millers boss was the fact they were able to take all those points without the services of loan striker and top scorer Kieffer Moore.

“He served a three-match ban in the month so Warne will have been delighted with the impact David Ball made as his replacement. Slender wins by the odd goal at home to MK Dons and at Blackpool suggests Rotherham are finding ways to win the tighter games after finding the net with regularity early in the season.

“Warne, the club’s former fitness coach, will no doubt have his troops primed for the later months of the season, as they look for an instant return to the Championship, which Sky Bet make an 8/1 shot.”

 

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Sky Bet League Two: Danny Cowley (Lincoln City)

Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for December.

His side have improved every month on their return to the Sky Bet EFL. The confidence Cowley has infused in his players shone through in December as they gained 13 points from a possible 15 and moved into the automatic promotion places.

George Burley chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.

He said: “Being a newly promoted side, it takes time for a manager to get his team to adapt to a new league. 

“Danny has improved Lincoln’s performances month by month which has moved them into an automatic promotion place.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “2017 was a year to remember for Danny Cowley’s Imps and it’s fitting that he ends it as Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month.

“FA Cup victories against Ipswich Town, Burnley and Brighton will live long in the memory but this season it’s all about going for a second successive promotion and the atmosphere around the club at the moment, with attendances the highest in League Two, pushing Cowley’s team to the next level.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Mikey Mumford said: “Lincoln have enjoyed an excellent December which has catapulted them right into the automatic promotion picture in League Two.

“Danny Cowley and his brother and assistant Nicky deserve huge credit for continuing their sterling work with last season’s National League Champions and back-to-back promotions are now considered a 13/8 chance while a top three finish may not be beyond the Imps at 11/4.

“Cowley’s methods have been built on solid foundations over the festive period with four clean sheets and while the club embarked on a miraculous run to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup at this stage last term, the Cowley brothers have their eye on jumping up another tier into League One.”

The Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel comprises former Ipswich Town manager George Burley, Sky Sports’ EFL expert Don Goodman; EFL Marketing Director Drew Barrand, League Managers’ Association Director Olaf Dixon and Sky Bet EFL trader Mikey Mumford