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08 Mar 2019

SKY BET EFL MANAGER OF THE MONTH AWARDS: FEBRUARY 2019

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

Sky Bet Championship: Chris Wilder (Sheffield United)

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for February.

Faced with a tricky set of February fixtures against Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and West Brom, Wilder and his men swept away all before them with conviction.

A haul of 13 points from a possible 15 and four clean sheets lifted them into the top two.

Wilder said: “It’s been a tough old month, we’ve had some really testing challenges so to come through this month, at the business end of the season, with the points and most importantly performances we are delighted and I accept this award on behalf of the football club, players and staf

“Defensively we have been solid, apart from obviously the Villa game which was part of the month as well which is quite extraordinary that we have got this award. The biggest moment for me was the reaction to that game, which was a real big test for us from a psychological point of view…how we reacted and the way we have done has been first class.

“We lost some big players during the month and changed the team, the players who have come in have been excellent. They are all in good nick individually and as a team we have been playing well and that obviously gives us the opportunity to win games and pick up awards like this.”

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

He said: “Eleven goals scored and only three conceded in five demanding matches earned the Blades thirteen points in the month.

“This moved them into an automatic promotion spot and dealt a blow to close rivals WBA and Middlesbrough at a very important time in the season.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “It’s going to take an incredible effort from one of the chasing pack to prevent it from being a three-horse race for the two automatic promotion spots in the Championship, and despite a disappointing goalless draw against their local rivals Sheffield Wednesday, Wilder has manoeuvred United into a fantastic place with eleven games remaining.

“During February, his side were tactically brilliant in beating promotion rivals Middlesbrough and West Brom by a single goal, all the while being defensively sound. Four clean sheets in five games highlighted their defensive solidity.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United continued their push for automatic promotion, and currently sit in third place just two points off Yorkshire rivals Leeds and four off high-flying Norwich who head the table. United are 7/2 to win the title and as short as 8/15 to be promoted.”

Sky Bet League One: Jack Ross (Sunderland)

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Sunderland manager Jack Ross has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for February. 

Ross managed his squad superbly during a hectic February run of five games in 15 days.

Along with the earlier win over AFC Wimbledon, the 12 points they earned from six unbeaten fixtures lifted them back into the automatic promotion picture.

Ross said: “It’s always nice to be nominated. It’s a surprise to receive it because of the record of some of the other people in this league. While it is me who picks it up, it is very much a reflection of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes and the staff that are involved in that.”

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

He said: “February was busier for Sunderland than most. Playing six matches, including five in 15 days, and remaining unbeaten took skilful management of resources and the team rewarded Jack by climbing to third in the table with a game in hand over Barnsley, their closest rival.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “After handing the automatic promotion initiative to the two teams above them with three consecutive draws in the middle of the month, Sunderland bounced back in style, scoring six goals in their final two game, as their January signings bedded into the team.

“A mouth-watering tie against Barnsley next Tuesday could go some way into deciding the fate of Ross’ debut season in the EFL, but Sunderland will go into it full of confidence after a superb February.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Jack Ross’s Sunderland are undefeated in their last 16 games in all competitions and have a day out at Wembley to look forward to in the Checkatrade Final at the end of the month.

“They are firmly in the chase for automatic promotion as well and currently sit third in League One with a game hand, which would put them second.

“The Black Cats are now odds-on at 5/6 for promotion back to the Sky Bet Championship having been as big as 11/8 a few weeks ago. They are 8/1 for the title.”

Sky Bet League Two: Ryan Lowe (Bury)

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Bury manager Ryan Lowe has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for February.

The pursuit of leaders Lincoln City continues, with Lowe’s second Manager of the Month award in as many months.

His side took over second place by extending their unbeaten run to 10 games and taking 10 points from a possible 12 - testimony to the consistency of performance he has been able to inspire.

Lowe said: “I’m over the moon to get a hattrick of Manager of the Month awards for the season, but as I’ve said before, it’s not just me, it’s my staff, my players.

“It’s nice to have them accolades, it’s recognition we’re playing the right way, but ultimately, it’s just another personal accolade, with the big picture at the end of the season. I’d happily trade them all in for where we want to get to.

“The lads are playing well and buying into what we’re trying to do, we know we’ve got a good team, we’ve got an honest group with some talented footballers and when you’re winning games, it’s only natural you win these awards.”

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

He said: “Another strong performance in February, gaining 10 points from four games, means that Bury have now gone ten games without defeat. They are beginning to look comfortable in the automatic promotion places and won’t let up over the remaining fixtures.

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Bury have been one of the standout attacking teams not only in the EFL, but across English football this season

“Nicky Maynard and Jay O’Shea continue to provide bundles of goals, and Lowe’s ability to keep the focus week in, week out means that Bury fans dreams of promotion are becoming more real by the week.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Thanks to four wins and a draw in the last month, Ryan Lowe’s side are now just two points off top spot in League Two and are breathing down Lincoln City’s neck.

“The Shakers should be promoted – they are 1/10 to go back up to Sky Bet League One at the first time of asking - but they will firmly have their sights set on the title which they are currently priced up as 9/4 second favourites for.”

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.