11 Nov 2016


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

Sky Bet Championship: Rafael Benitez (Newcastle United)

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for October.

His side swept all before them as a perfect five wins from five games took them to the top of the Championship table.

As impressive as the variety of their attacking play was the delight his players took in conceding just two goals.

Benitez said: “I’m really pleased. As a manager when you win a trophy it means that your staff, your players, the people who work in the club, they are working very hard.

“So I think they also deserve this award and it’s important for everyone here.”

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

He said: “Newcastle United were strong favourites for promotion before the season started and their 100% record in October has taken them to the top of the Championship.

“Rafa has built a squad which is now looking very formidable and has all the qualities required to regain their place in the Premier League.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Rafa’s Newcastle team were unstoppable in October, bulldozing every team that was unfortunate enough to have to take them on!

“Eleven goals for and just two against tell the story of arguably the only team in this season’s Championship capable of pulling away from the rest.”

Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “Our traders were amazed at how short the odds on Newcastle to win this year’s Championship were entering the season, with the Magpies priced at just 9/4.

“It was widely acknowledged that they would have an extremely strong squad and a big budget, as well as a fantastic home advantage due to their huge fanbase, but the club was out of the winning mentality and falling into a division widely considered as the most difficult in world football.

“Benitez deserves huge credit for keeping the squad together and employing a style of play that is suited to the Championship, encompassed for me by their gritty 1-0 win at Rotherham to start the month.

“The 9/4 that was available at the start of the season seems generous these days, with Rafa’s men now 1/3 to bring home the Championship title in May.”


Sky Bet League One: Phil Parkinson (Bolton Wanderers)

Bolton Wanderers manager Phil Parkinson has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for October.

Parkinson went back to defensive basics to regain his team’s early season momentum.

No League One side conceded fewer than Bolton’s three goals in October, the foundation stone for five wins and 15 points from six games.

Parkinson said: “I’m very pleased to win the award. We had a good month in October after a difficult period the month previous, but we came through it and now the aim is for us to continue this run.

“After the start we had to the season, we perhaps took our foot off the gas slightly, but we learned from that alongside getting a number of players back from injury.

“We have also learned though that winning is hard and that to succeed, we need to play with desire and commitment and push ourselves to the limit.

“The Millwall game we had, away at The Den, typified that mentality along with our victory over our local rivals Bury. You saw then that the players were pushing themselves to their limits for Bolton Wanderers.

“Our supporters are identifying with that too and I can feel the momentum of the fans’ backing behind the players. It is still very early days in the season though and there’s a lot of work ahead of us.”

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

He said: “Phil is proving once again what an excellent manager he is with Bolton Wanderers. They had a fantastic October gaining 15 points and only conceded one goal in the process.

“It is never easy to turn a big club like Bolton around, but Phil is certainly giving the team and the fans a new belief.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “October began with a defeat to Oxford in which they failed to register a shot on goal and left Parkinson so worried by his team’s slump that he addressed the fans in a passionate letter to the local paper.

“The turnaround since then has been remarkable with a string of four league victories to nil and a 3-1 victory against Port Vale, that lifted his side back into the automatic promotion places.”

Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “After a very solid start it looked like Bolton might have lost their way, going winless in September despite having the best defence in League One.

“Parkinson has brought an organisation to his side and once they recaptured their own scoring form they were able to rattle off a fourfold of consecutive wins to nil at odds of 250/1, culminating in a solid 2-0 win away at local rivals Bury.

“Having fallen on hard times in recent years Bolton were seen as a 7/2 shot to return instantly to the Championship.

“Given their strong showings in August and October, and the grit Parkinson has his side playing with they are rightfully much shorter at this stage, now just 5/4 to start their climb back up the league.”


Sky Bet League Two: Keith Curle (Carlisle United)

Carlisle United manager Keith Curle has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for October.

Not content with equalling a club record for unbeaten games to start the season, Curle inspired his side to claim sole possession of Carlisle history with five wins from five and 13 goals in a perfect month as they moved into second place.

Curle said: “It’s recognition for the whole team, when we say team we mean the fans and all staff at the football club, everybody who helps us do our job. They can all take a lot of pride in the awards that have come our way.

“There is massive pride to be in charge of a team like this. My immediate staff allow me to work as a manager how I want to work and that is massive to myself. It means I can keep my focus on what I think I can do to the football club in aid of the football club.'' 

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

He said: “Keith has had a tremendous month with Carlisle United, winning all five games and collecting 15 points while scoring 13 goals.

“They are playing some great attacking football scoring 3 goals away at Morecambe and another three at home to Hartlepool United.

“These results have pushed them into an automatic promotion position which is a great testament to the job Keith is doing.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “It was a flawless month for Keith Curle’s side as they moved up to second in the table, just four points behind Plymouth Argyle.

“Thirteen goals in five games tell the story of a side who are firing on all cylinders and with games against lower-half opposition coming up, Keith will be confident of extending their record-breaking unbeaten run.”

Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “Carlisle haven’t lost a game in League Two since April, and it’s about time Keith Curle was recognised for his fantastic achievements at a club that are definitely on the up.

“Hopefully now over the effects of the massive flooding that threatened their season last year, Carlisle have made great use of their new playing surface at Brunton Park, scoring multiple goals in each of their October home games.

“Before a ball was kicked Carlisle were 7/2 to be promoted this season, but a club record run of 15 league games undefeated sees Curle’s men now just 2/5 to be playing in League One next season.”

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 Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery