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06 Apr 2018

SKY BET EFL MANAGER OF THE MONTH AWARDS: MARCH 2018

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

Sky Bet Championship: Neil Warnock (Cardiff City)

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for March.

Pressure, what pressure? Promotion looms closer after a perfect month against teams beginning with ‘B’ – Barnsley, Birmingham, Brentford and Burton.

Judging by Cardiff’s 11-5 goal differential in four games, Warnock has his players enjoying themselves.

Warnock said: “We’ve just had a great season, haven’t we? Whatever happens now, even if we didn’t get another point, we’ve had a fabulous season and I couldn’t fault the lads for the effort they’re putting in.

“For us to be up there is a bit of a miracle really and I’m right proud of them. In every area, the togetherness is there, the camaraderie has come through in our results.

“I feel very proud because I don’t think anyone will mind me saying the club was in a bit of disarray when we came in, both on and off the field.

“But putting it all together and getting bums back on the seats at the same time as a side that are winning games I think is very special.

“I think if you’re a Cardiff fan now, you walk about in town and you’re proud to be a Cardiff fan and you want to come and cheer your team on and I think that’s great. As a manager, I want them to get behind us and the players as well.”

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

He said: “March was another great month for Cardiff City, winning all of their four games.

“Neil has a tremendous record of getting teams promoted and Cardiff now look odds-on for automatic promotion to the Premier League.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Back-to-back awards at this stage of the season suggest a team who are hitting their peak at just the right time, with Cardiff finding a way to win time and time again.

“Despite Neil’s insistence that they’ll take whatever they can get this season, having got Cardiff into a box seat for automatic promotion, he’ll be determined to complete an incredible job and restore Cardiff’s place in the Premier League. 

“It could be argued, should he achieve it that this will be his most outstanding promotion ever!”

Sky Bet EFL trader Mikey Mumford said: “Neil’s award for March brings up a hat-trick of Manager of the Month awards this term but perhaps this one might just top the pile.

“His Cardiff side recorded a perfect month with four victories, which extended their winning run in the Championship to eight games and more importantly consolidated their place in the automatic places.

“Cardiff’s come-from-behind win over Brentford was a particular highlight and Warnock’s side are now 1/5 to secure their return to the Premier League and they’re keeping Wolves honest at the top too, where Sky Bet rate their chances of overhauling the leaders a 7/1 chance.”

 

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Sky Bet League One: Paul Cook (Wigan Athletic)

Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for March.

His side made light of a hectic schedule, playing catch-up after their FA Cup heroics. Two exciting draws with promotion rivals Blackburn and Scunthorpe were followed by four wins with a 9-0 goal differential to go top again.

Cook said: "Am I happy to get March’s award? I’d much prefer to get April’s! If I was sitting here with April’s award it would mean that we’ve had a fantastic end to the season.

“After Monday’s defeat at Portsmouth, we’re still very much in the race with two other teams who are both having outstanding seasons.

“We’ve got eight games to go, and like I always say, it’s in our hands now, and as the games filter down wins become massively more important.

“For us, it’s about being focused, enjoying the run in but we’ve got great players in our team. I’ve got great belief in the players and we’ll soon find out what it brings.”

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

He said: “Wigan Athletic had a very busy schedule in March playing catch-up after their FA Cup heroics.  Despite the disappointment of the FA Cup Quarter Final defeat, Paul kept their focus on the league and finished the month undefeated. 

“They had started with two draws against rivals Blackburn and Scunthorpe and followed that with four wins and a goal difference of 9 to 0 which took Wigan to the top of the league again.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “This month was so crucial to Wigan’s season, with a huge number of games in hand to contend with, including difficult away games at Bradford, Walsall and direct rivals Blackburn.

“For Cook’s men to come out of it unbeaten, showing great character to come from behind at Blackburn, then keeping four clean sheets in a row, shows the determination in the group to keep their noses in front and ultimately gain promotion to cap a wonderful season.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Mikey Mumford said: “Paul Cook’s Wigan faced a challenging month on paper having to contend with seven games including an FA Cup quarter-final.

“But an excellent return of 14 points in March more than made up for the disappointment of their cup exit and Cook deserves enormous credit for keeping his players focused on the number one job in hand and the ultimate aim of promotion. 

“Cook’s side recovered from a two-goal deficit to draw at Blackburn and their late winner at Bradford in the month put them firmly back in the title hunt, for which they are now considered a 4/6 chance for the League One crown.”

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Sky Bet League Two: John Coleman (Accrington Stanley)

Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for March.

A second straight award for February’s winner and this time his side were perfect. They won all four games and conceded just two goals, beating erstwhile leaders Luton away and taking over at the top of League Two.

Coleman said: “It feels good to be close but it’s no good being close if you don’t go all the way and get where you want to go.

“There’s still a lot of hard work to be done, but the players are relishing the task. I wouldn’t want any different squad to the one I’ve got now.

“The players have got the bit between their teeth and they’re very determined, they’re finding a way to win and you need a little bit of luck along the way.

“Sometimes you can make your own luck, but if you work hard and play the game in the opposition’s half, you’ve got a chance of winning.”

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

He said: “Under John Coleman, Accrington Stanley keep going from strength to strength and March brought a 100% league record. 

“They conceded just two goals in winning their four matches, including the fabulous away win at Luton Town which took them to the top of the league. 

“What a great achievement for John to win the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month accolade in consecutive months.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Like Cardiff in the Championship, back-to-back awards in February and March are indicators of a team determined to see the job and their quest for promotion through.

“Coleman’s ability to find a winning edge in March and continue to motivate his players was clear to see with four wins coming by just a single goal margin.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Mikey Mumford said: “Much like Warnock at Cardiff, John Coleman scooping back-to-back awards with Accrington in League Two is a remarkable achievement.

“It’s common knowledge that Accrington operate with one of the smallest budgets in the division but the players have all bought into Coleman’s philosophy as they march towards a quite extraordinary title triumph.

“The 2-1 victory over direct title rivals Luton at Kenilworth Road was a huge signal of intent and they followed that up with wins over Forest Green and promotion hopefuls Mansfield.

“Coleman is on the brink of creating history with Stanley’s first promotion in the EFL and a title win, which was 20/1 in pre-season is now as short as 1/4 with seven games left to play.”

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