Colchester United boss John McGreal has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for December.With his side sliding down the table, McGreal demonstrated his bravery in December, switching to three at the back and making positive, early substitutions when needed.
Ten points from four games are proof that both ploys worked.
McGreal said: “It’s very flattering to receive the award. Steve Ball and I are obviously delighted, but the credit must go to the players for the way they’ve adapted to what we’ve asked them to do.
“We’ve changed the system, had players come back from injury and the whole squad has had the belief and talent to go out there and perform.
“Even during the run without winning, they believed in themselves and the results in December were a reward for their hard work and application.
“They’ve shown what they are capable of and we all want to continue December’s form into the New Year and the second half of the season.”
George Burley, who chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel, said: “It is great to see a young manager doing well in his first job and John is certainly doing that at Colchester United.
“After having a difficult spell he changed his formation round to bring the best out of his players and that has worked very impressively as they gained three wins and a draw in December.
“Colchester United are a club committed to bringing young players through and John is showing that he is the ideal person to do that.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “It’s fair to say the start of the season didn’t go entirely to plan for McGreal or Colchester and at one stage it appeared they could be in for a difficult struggle against relegation.
“But the team rallied around their manager in December and an unbeaten run leaves them in a much more comfortable position at the turn of the year.”
Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “Colchester were teetering at the end of November, so McGreal will be really pleased with the month.
“He switched systems to 3-5-2 and was able to gently re-introduce often injured frontman Chris Porter to his line-up whilst maintaining a steady run of results which saw a 0-0 draw at resolute Mansfield followed by a trio of wins that has them back on the edge of the Play-Off places."
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.