HUGHTON

06 May 2016

SKY BET FOOTBALL LEAGUE MANAGER OF THE MONTH AWARDS: APRIL 16

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

Sky Bet Championship: Chris Hughton (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for April.

Hughton embraced the thrill of the chase as his side collected 16 points from a possible 18, scoring 18 goals in the process as they closed in on Middlesbrough and Burnley.

Their expansive football brought them at least two goals in every April game.

Hughton said: “It’s quite obvious that I’m picking this up on behalf of a group of lads that have not only excelled over this month, but over the season.

“It’s an incredibly good group of staff that have contributed and we just hope that we can take that right the way through the season.

“I think we certainly would’ve bitten your hands off if you had said we would be going into the last game of the season with a chance of getting automatic promotion.”

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

He said: “Chris has had a great month earning 16 out of the 18 points available.

“Few expected Brighton to be competing for automatic promotion with one game to go, so credit to Chris and his team for a fantastic season.”

Sky Sports’ Football League pundit Don Goodman said: “Chris’ Brighton side have been in terrific form in the league since the middle of March and they have put themselves into a great position going into the final weekend.

“To have automatic promotion within their grasp on the final Saturday of the season is all Chris could’ve asked for.

“He’ll know what a big performance the team will have to put in to get over the line, but he’ll also know that they’re capable of pulling it off.”

Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “Brighton started the month as a 5/2 shot to finish in the automatic promotion places, and after a draw with red hot Burnley they went on a perfect run of April wins to set up a showdown with Middlesbrough to end the season.

“Hughton has leant on all of his experience of promotion in the league before and whilst Brighton have to go to Middlesbrough and get a positive result they will fancy themselves, having scored more goals than any other team in the division this season.

“They are 12/5 to take the three points they so desperately need this Saturday, which would be a just reward.”

 ALEXANDER

Sky Bet League 1: Graham Alexander (Scunthorpe United)

Scunthorpe United manager Graham Alexander has been named the Sky Bet League 1 Manager of the Month for April.

After a narrow defeat to begin the month, victory over second-placed Burton Albion was the first of five successive wins which lifted Scunthorpe to the fringe of the Play-Off places and underlined Alexander’s impact since arriving at Glanford Park.

Alexander said: " We were ten points adrift of the Play-Offs at the start of the month and we gave the players a target of winning as many games as they could.

“We wanted to show that even though people said we had nothing to play for we still cared about the club and wanted to put on a show. The momentum just built from there.”

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

He said: “Graham has done fantastically since coming in. He took over when Scunthorpe were 13th but the five wins in April have given them a great chance of reaching the Play-Offs in the last game.”

Sky Sports’ Football League pundit Don Goodman said: “A glowing April has brought Scunthorpe to the verge of a Play-Off place. With only four goals conceded in six games, the form they showed was as good as any other team in the division.

“With only one win in their last four games, Barnsley have allowed Scunthorpe to dream of a Play-Off spot now they’ve drawn level on points.

“With Barnsley away at Sky Bet League 1 Champions Wigan, Scunthorpe will believe they can sneak into sixth place on Sunday.”

Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “A loss in the opening game of the month to Bradford looked to be the nail in the coffin of Scunthorpe’s promotion quest. After that defeat we made them a 250/1 shot to win the Play-Offs at the end of the season.

“However the team dusted themselves off and went on an outstanding run under Alexander, to the point where a win at the weekend would put them in with a great chance of sneaking into the last Play-Off spot.

“Whilst there have been some standout performers you have to look at Alexander as the catalyst to success.

“Scunthorpe have only lost one game under his stewardship, and even if they fail to overturn odds of 6/4 to finish in the top 6 the blame will not be aimed at the manager.”

 ARDLEY

Sky Bet League 2: Neal Ardley (AFC Wimbledon)

AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley has been named the Sky Bet League 2 Manager of the Month for April.

Ardley steered his side into the Play-Offs behind a run of five successive victories and a 16-point haul from seven games.

He proved that his previously free-scoring side can keep it tight at the back if necessary by conceding just three goals.

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

He said: “Neal’s Wimbledon side have booked their place in the Play-Offs after a very busy but successful month.

“16 points in seven games including five consecutive wins show just how well he’s done.”

Sky Sports’ Football League pundit Don Goodman said: “Neal’s Wimbledon side hit form at exactly the right time of the season and confirmed their Play-Off place last weekend with a 0-0 draw against Stevenage.

“It guarantees them their highest finishing League position since their formation in 2002 - a great achievement for Ardley and for the club.”

Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “Up until the very late in the season the final Play-Off spot in League 2 looked to be a fight between almost half the teams in the division.

“However Wimbledon clicked into another gear in April, beating five opponents in a row including Play-Off chasing rivals Wycombe and Leyton Orient.

“They did such a good job that they can enjoy the last week of the regular season safe in the knowledge that the Play-Offs are already in the bag. 

“We make them a 10/3 chance to be promoted, those odds have tumbled from 12/1 at the start of the month.

“Ardley has added the goals of Lyle Taylor to the power of Akinfenwa in the Wimbledon front line which gives them a real chance to achieve promotion in the most dramatic fashion at Wembley.”

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