Steve Bruce Jan 2016 4

05 Feb 2016

SKY BET FOOTBALL LEAGUE MANAGER OF THE MONTH AWARDS: JAN 2016

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

Sky Bet Championship: Steve Bruce (Hull City)

Hull City manager Steve Bruce has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for January.

It was a perfect month on Humberside for Bruce, as he steered Hull to top spot in the Championship with 11 goals and 12 points from four games. 

The gritty wins he inspired at QPR and Fulham were as important as two comfortable home wins in the month.

Bruce said: “It’s a big pat on the back and congratulations to all my staff who helped me tirelessly. 

“Of course it’s the manager who gets a nice trophy but it’s also for the lads who work behind the scenes, the ones who are ready to take training now.

“I’d rather be picking it up in March or April than February, but there you are.”

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

He said: “There were some outstanding managerial performances in the Sky Bet Championship in January, but Steve came out on top with a 100% record.  

“Hull scored 11 goals and only conceded one which has taken the club to the top of the division.”

Sky Sports’ Football League pundit Don Goodman said: “A man who knows what it takes to get success in the jungle that is the Sky Bet Championship. 

“Tight at the back and free-scoring last month, Hull put themselves back into contention for the Championship title with a perfect January.

“Four points ahead of third-placed Burnley with a game in hand, an immediate return to the Premier League is in their own hands as we head into February and that’s all you can ask at this stage.”

Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “Steve Bruce’s Hull won all four games in January and are now 2/1 second favourites (from 9/1 at the start of the month) to be crowned champions in May. 

“They are long odds on to get promoted (2/7 from 6/5 on New Year’s Day) and now sit one point clear at the top of the table, ahead of Boro who are 8/13 favourites to win the league and 1/9 to get promoted.”

Sky Bet League 1: Lee Johnson (Barnsley)

Barnsley manager Lee Johnson has been named the Sky Bet League 1 Manager of the Month for January.

Johnson continued the momentum his side built up in December by leading them to a perfect record of five wins from five with a 13-2 goal differential. 

He has his team playing fluent passing football to which they have added a steely edge.

Johnson said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have picked up this award. We have picked up some fantastic results against some very good teams both home and away, and credit must go to the staff and players who have really worked hard over the past couple of months, and also to the supporters for sticking by us.”

George Burley said: “Lee has kept Barnsley’s excellent momentum going throughout January gaining a maximum 15 points. 

“They had three away wins and two more at home which included an impressive 6 – 1 win against Rochdale.”

Don Goodman added: “The Sky Bet League 1 Manager of the Month award is a victory for patience and loyalty.

“Lee Johnson has led Barnsley to eight successive wins, an impressive feat considering the torrid time the club went through in October and November when it would have been easy for the powers that be to panic and remove the manager. 

“It’s wonderful to see such loyalty rewarded in a day and age where all too many succumb to the short-termism within modern day football.”

Paul Lowery said: “Lee Johnson’s Barnsley have been in sublime form now for several weeks now and they won all 5 of their league games in January. 

“The Tykes now sit comfortably in mid table in having flirted with relegation when they lost seven games on the trot at the back end of October/November. 

“They are now 80/1 to be relegated having been as short as 2/1 to go down on Boxing Day. 

“They now sit six points off the Play-Offs and can be backed at 40/1 to gain promotion back to the Championship.”

Sky Bet League 2: Chris Wilder (Northampton Town)

Northampton Town manager Chris Wilder has been named the Sky Bet League 2 Manager of the Month for January.

Having steered his side through the financial uncertainty of autumn, Wilder has ensured that harmony off the pitch hasn’t sated the hunger on it. 

A vital win at rivals Plymouth Argyle underpinned a maximum 12-point haul and sent the Cobblers top.

Wilder said: "Winning the award is nice because it shows we have had a good month, but it is really an award for the whole club. 

“It is the players who go out there and perform, and the staff who provide fantastic support to help them. 

“It is great to win this award, but we know we still have an awful lot of hard work ahead of us this season to achieve what we want to."

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

He said: “It has been another great month for Chris and his team at Northampton.

“It shows that no matter what happens off the pitch, the most important thing is what the team does on it.  

“They had a fantastic month gaining four wins out of four with a very impressive away win at promotion contenders Plymouth Argyle.”

Sky Sports’ Football League pundit Don Goodman said: “It was a fantastic month for Chris Wilder and his Northampton team who boasted a perfect record in January to take them to the top of Sky Bet League 2.

“At this stage of the season, a perfect month can be the difference between automatic promotion and having to battle it out in the Play-Offs, so Chris will be keen to see this form continue.”

Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “Northampton’s excellent run of form shows no sign of waning under Chris Wilder and it continued in January where they won all four league games to sit two points clear at the top of League 2, with two games in hand. 

“The Cobblers have won the last 10 out of 11 league games and are 5/4 favourites to win the division from 9/2 at the start of the month. 

“A remarkable turnaround from the brink of administration a couple of months ago.”

The judging panel comprises former Ipswich Town manager George Burley; Sky Sports’ Football League expert Don Goodman; Football League Chief Operating Officer Andy Williamson; League Managers’ Association Director Olaf Dixon and Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery