10 Jan 2020


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

Sky Bet Championship: Jonathan Woodgate (Middlesbrough)

Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for December.

Patience has been the key on and off the pitch at The Riverside - Woodgate has gradually instilled in his young side a steeliness to pick up points in adversity, notably a 2-0 win at West Brom which made it 13 points from six games.

Woodgate said: “I’m really pleased, not for myself, but for everyone here. It’s all about a team effort, and there’s some fantastic staff at this football club who really care. 

“We have a fantastic team spirit at the club, and that togetherness is key to everything we do.”

Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.

He said: “After a very difficult start to his managerial career in result terms, Jonathan has really turned the fortunes of Boro around. 

“Having a chairman who is regarded as one of the best in the business has undoubtedly helped the team to stabilise and take onboard Jonathan’s philosophy and the patience is paying off. 

“A terrific December gave his team a return of 13 points from their five games and will certainly give his young side the confidence to believe they are a match for any team in the division, particularly after their 2-0 win at West Brom.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Life looked very difficult for Woodgate’s Boro, following their 4-0 hammering at Elland Road at the end of November. 

“It would have been easy to assume Woodgate’s time was running short, making their subsequent turnaround in fortunes ever more impressive.

“Thirteen points in six games from the hectic festive schedule has catapulted the Teessiders up the table, with a 2-0 victory over then-league leaders West Brom the pick of the performances.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Boro were 4/1 and one of the favourites for promotion at the start of the season, but they were languishing in 20th place at the start of the month just a point clear of safety as short as 6/4 for relegation. 

“They now sit in 16th place in the table, 10 points clear of the drop and as big as 22/1 for relegation. They will be looking up and not down though and are 8 points off 6th placed Swansea. They are an 18/1 shot to finish in the playoff places.”

Sky Bet League One: John Coleman (Accrington Stanley)


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

Never one to panic over a poor run, Coleman trusts the methods which continue to serve him and Stanley well, collecting 11 points from five unbeaten games, including a stunning 4-1 victory over improving Portsmouth.

Coleman said: "It is a feather in the cap for the team, they are the ones who win it really as the results are down to them.

"As management staff, we take a small part as we work with them on a daily basis but it is really a team effort.

"To do any damage in this league, you have to win this trophy maybe two or three times. Winning it once in isolation is not good enough if you want to do something in this league.

"You have to have two or three really good months and if I win it twice more in the first part of 2020 it means we are doing well!"

Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.

He said: “Accrington had a magical December with a return of 11 points from five games - no mean feat after a really tough run of losses. 

“With all his experience, John has never faltered from his management style, nor has he panicked and always retains a great belief in his methods. 

“He had the ability to turn the run of defeats around, which is always more difficult when you are facing the threat of relegation. 

“John has defied the odds and got Accrington into the pack of teams just below mid table.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Already an Accrington Stanley icon, John Coleman continues to flex his managerial know-how at this level, deep into his second spell at the club.

“Stanley enjoyed a fantastic December, going undefeated and claiming four crucial wins as they began to climb the Sky Bet League One ladder. 

“There’s still a long way to go for Coleman’s troops, but this expert navigation of a tricky period has set the club in great stead.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “John Coleman’s Accrington continue to punch above their weight in League One and their December record helped to stave off any fears of relegation. 

“They are as big as 80/1 now having been one of the favourites at 2/1 for relegation at the start of the season. 

“Stanley sit in 17th place, but due to the competitive nature of League One they are only seven points off the Play-Offs and will be hoping they can carry on the good form they showed in December to push themselves into contention.”

Sky Bet League Two: Matt Taylor (Exeter City)


Exeter City manager Matt Taylor has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for December.

As impressive as the attacking intent of Taylor’s team is their ability to rescue points from unpromising positions. 

They did it again in December, recovering from 3-0 down to draw with Walsall and collecting 11 points from five unbeaten games.

Taylor said: “It’s always pleasing to win this award because it’s a sign that the team is doing well, it’s as simple as that.

“All credit must go to that group of players and the staff I’ve got around me, especially over such a period where sacrifices have got to be made. 

“Christmas and New Year’s a fantastic time, but if you’re a footballer, it’s all about being professional.

“We picked up a pleasing amount of points from that run and the win on Saturday topped that off.”

Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.

He said: “A very impressive December helped propel Matt and his team to within touching distance of the top of Sky Bet League Two. 

“Exeter are putting the other teams around them under great pressure and keeping their title challenge going with their consistency and results. Matt has really got his lads firing at this important time of the season.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Another successful month for Exeter, as they extended their lengthy unbeaten run despite the Christmas fixture pile-up. 

“Matt Taylor’s attacking style has caught the eye all season, but it’s his side’s resilience and commitment to the cause that is giving his team a wonderful platform for automatic promotion.

“From 3-0 down at home to Walsall, City somehow found a way to battle back and earn a point – and it’s that kind of attitude that is making Exeter genuine promotion contenders.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Matt Taylor’s Exeter side carried on their excellent form this season with an unbeaten month boasting a great record in December. 

“The Grecians sit second in the table and are 8/15 to be promoted this season having been 15/8 at the start of the month and 9/2 at the start of the season. 

“They are currently second favourites at 100/30 for the League Two crown having been as big as 8/1 at the start of the month and 20/1 at the start of the season.” 

The Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel comprises former Barnsley manager Danny Wilson, Sky Sports’ EFL expert Don Goodman; EFL Communications Director Mark Rowan, and Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies.