Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for March.
His side made light of a hectic schedule, playing catch-up after their FA Cup heroics. Two exciting draws with promotion rivals Blackburn and Scunthorpe were followed by four wins with a 9-0 goal differential to go top again.
Cook said: "Am I happy to get March’s award? I’d much prefer to get April’s! If I was sitting here with April’s award it would mean that we’ve had a fantastic end to the season.
“After Monday’s defeat at Portsmouth, we’re still very much in the race with two other teams who are both having outstanding seasons.
“We’ve got eight games to go, and like I always say, it’s in our hands now, and as the games filter down wins become massively more important.
“For us, it’s about being focused and enjoying the run-in but we’ve got great players in our team. I’ve got great belief in the players and we’ll soon find out what it brings.”
George Burley chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel. He said: “Wigan Athletic had a very busy schedule in March playing catch-up after their FA Cup heroics. Despite the disappointment of the FA Cup Quarter Final defeat, Paul kept their focus on the league and finished the month undefeated.
“They had started with two draws against rivals Blackburn and Scunthorpe and followed that with four wins and a goal difference of 9 to 0 which took Wigan to the top of the league again.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “This month was so crucial to Wigan’s season, with a huge number of games in hand to contend with, including difficult away games at Bradford, Walsall and direct rivals Blackburn.
“For Cook’s men to come out of it unbeaten, showing great character to come from behind at Blackburn, then keeping four clean sheets in a row, shows the determination in the group to keep their noses in front and ultimately gain promotion to cap a wonderful season.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Mikey Mumford said: “Paul Cook’s Wigan faced a challenging month on paper having to contend with seven games including an FA Cup quarter-final.
“But an excellent return of 14 points in March more than made up for the disappointment of their cup exit and Cook deserves enormous credit for keeping his players focused on the number one job in hand and the ultimate aim of promotion.
“Cook’s side recovered from a two-goal deficit to draw at Blackburn and their late winner at Bradford in the month put them firmly back in the title hunt.”