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11 Jan 2019

SKY BET EFL MANAGER OF THE MONTH AWARDS: DECEMBER 2018

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

Sky Bet Championship: Nigel Adkins (Hull City)

Hull City manager Nigel Adkins has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for December.

Adkins is proving his worth as a manager yet again. When December began, Hull were in the bottom three.

Sixteen points and 14 goals from six games later, they are mid-table. Four of those fixtures were away, including a 2-0 victory at leaders Leeds.

Adkins said: It’s great recognition for all of the hard work that the players and the staff have been putting in.”

“The run of form that we’ve been on and the momentum that we have picked up is down to everybody working hard for each other. We have a r ethos – Together Everybody Achieves More – and we have a really good environment in which to work.

“The players come in and know what is required of them. We have a great camaraderie which is so important, we defend as a team and attack as a team – we are a team.”

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

He said: “What a fantastic month for Hull City, starting December in the bottom three and finishing it in mid-table. Nigel got them playing some exciting, attacking football scoring 14 goals in six games which gained them 16 points.

“They had some outstanding away performances, winning against QPR, Preston North End and Leeds United who were top of the table.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Positivity has played a key role in the successes that Adkins has had over his career and was a huge factor as he famously guided Southampton to the Premier League from League One in two consecutive seasons.

“In December, we really saw the fruits of his positivity working their magic for Hull City in what has been a hugely difficult first half of the season for his team.

“He deserves enormous credit as Hull went on a tremendous run, soaring away from the relegation zone and into mid-table.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Nigel Adkins guided his Hull City side to five victories and a draw in the month of December to catapult Hull out of the relegation zone and into 13th in the table.

“The Tigers were 9/4 for relegation at the start of the month and are now a massive 100/1 to go down! They will definitely be looking up and not down the table for the remainder of the season and are an outside bet at 16/1 to make the Play-Offs.”

Sky Bet League One: Nathan Jones (Luton Town)

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Nathan Jones has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for December. 

Jones left his role at Luton to replace Gary Rowett as Stoke City manager earlier this week.

It was a third successive Manager of the Month nomination for Jones, whose former team continued its charge towards the League One summit with another near perfect month.

Jones said: “First of all, I am proud to have won this four times in my managerial career and it is the first time I have won it in League One, so I am very proud to win for myself and my staff and the players who and obviously a thanks to the Luton fans for all the support they have given me throughout my tenure. I know that there are frustrations there, but as I said I would like to thank them for everything they have done for me because they took me to their club and I will never forget that.

“I would like them [Luton] to see them achieve promotion, we put in place a very good things, very good processes, a real good culture and environment there with excellent players that are capable of getting automatic promotion. I would like to see the job done and I would like to see them in the Championship because that is where the club at a minimum deserves to be and as I said they are group of players that are talented enough to be able to do that. 

“Ours [Stoke’s] is the first result I look for and then it will be Luton’s, Brighton’s, Yeovil’s and clubs that I have been associated with. I have got very good relationships with pretty much everyone at the football club. I hope they do very well. It is a big game and I really hope they win it and cement a place in the top two.

“It is [a] very exciting [opportunity] otherwise I wouldn’t be here. It is a big club with a wonderful fan base and a very talented group of players and it is very exciting to see what we can achieve. We achieved real good success at Luton and put things in place that will stand them in good stead for a long, long time and hopefully we can do that while achieving promotion to the next level.”

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

He said: “Nathan had Luton pushing up near the top of Sky Bet League One and they have shown great consistency in the last few months.

“December was another near perfect month in which they collected 13 points from five unbeaten games.

“It is great news that Nathan’s work and success at Luton has been recognised by his appointment at Stoke City. He is another young British manager who has really earned the opportunity to work in a higher division.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “It’s no surprise that Nathan has been given a chance to prove himself in the Championship with Stoke as what he has done with Luton over the last couple of seasons has been magnificent

“He had the team playing with style, with solidity at the back and had the whole club pulling together in the same direction. If he can build the same thing at Stoke, then seeing him in the Premier League in the future is not unlikely.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Luton won four and drew the other under Nathan Jones in December to put them firmly in contention for back-to-back promotions.

“Jones’ departure couldn’t have come at a worse time for Luton with them mounting a serious title challenge over the last couple of months.“The Hatters were 5/2 second-favourites for the title prior to Jones leaving, but Sky Bet have pushed them out to 11/4 after seeing money for their promotion rivals Pompey, Sunderland and Barnsley on the back of his departure.”

Sky Bet League Two: Michael Jolley (Grimsby Town)

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Grimsby manager Michael Jolley has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for December.

Jolley is proving himself to be a young manager to watch. On December 14th, Grimsby stood six points above the relegation zone. After winning at Exeter to make it 12 points from a possible 15 in the month, they were six points off the Play-Offs.

Jolley said: “Really pleased. It’s recognition for the whole football club and the progress that we’ve made, certainly in recent months – culminating in a really strong December.

“I think Manager of the Month is always a bit of a misnomer because it’s really team of the month – it’s based on the results of the team over that period.

“It’s credit to our players that they came through that period, and delivered some really good performances.

“And we were consistent throughout, despite picking up some injuries to important players, and those who stepped into the team really showed that they were ready to help the team get some good results.

“It’s testament to the way the lads work because even those who aren’t in the team are really working hard, training hard, and ready to step in.”

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

He said: “Michael is proving to be a very good and talented young manager. During December, he has taken Grimsby Town from just above the relegation zone to six points from the play-off positions.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Michael Jolley’s path to becoming Grimsby manager is about as unusual as it’s possible to get. Aged just 41, he has an economics degree from Cambridge and traded bonds in New York before taking his first management job in Sweden.

“He’s done a terrific job so far in driving Grimsby up the table this season and the away win at promotion chasing Exeter City in their final game of the month was the icing on the cake.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Michael Jolley’s Grimsby side won four games and lost the other in the month of December to ease the Mariners into mid-table security and stave off any relegation fears.

“They were 11/4 to go down at the start at the month and are now as big as 33/1. They sit nine points off the last Play-Off spot and are priced at 22/1 to make them.”

The Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel comprises former Ipswich Town manager George Burley, Sky Sports’ EFL expert Don Goodman; EFL Communications Director Mark Rowan, League Managers’ Association Director Olaf Dixon and Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies.