Northampton Town midfielder John-Joe O’Toole has been named the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for January.
A niggling groin injury caused O’Toole to miss 24 games this season and Northampton won just two of them.
With him in the team, they have won seven of 13. Arriving late in the box, he scored a goal in four successive games, including a lovely glancing header at Blackburn.
Northampton manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink said: "I'm really happy for John-Joe. He was brilliant for us in January and scored some very important goals.
"It wasn't easy for him, we have had to nurture him through a little bit as he has continued his recovery from injury, and he has been playing with pain, but that just sums up his character and his will to do well for the team.
"He was a big factor for us in a good month and he deserves the award."
O’Toole said: “It feels great to be recognised for this award. We’ve picked up in terms of results in recent weeks so that’s been great – apart from Saturday which was a bit of a kick in the teeth, so we need to get back to it, but we’re heading in the right direction.
“It’s been a bit of a difficult season for me personally injury-wise, and even when I got back in September and October it was frustrating being in and out of the team, but I’ve managed to get a run of games recently and managed to get on the end of a few which is nice, but I want to get a few more now.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “In a season in which Northampton have struggled to pull themselves away from the danger zone, O’Toole has been an even more important player, with the Cobblers winning seven of the 13 games he’s featured in.
“Giving him a more advanced role has paid off for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, with an improved goal output and a better disciplinary record than previous seasons.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Mikey Mumford said: “O’Toole hit the net 10 times last term and his return from injury this season has coincided with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s side pulling themselves out of the relegation zone.
“Goals in all but one of January fixtures highlight his importance to Northampton’s survival battle.”
The judging panel for the Sky Bet Player of the Month comprises Sky Sports’ EFL expert Don Goodman; EFL Communications Director Mark Rowan, League Managers’ Association Director Olaf Dixon and Sky Bet EFL trader Mikey Mumford.