Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for April, whilst West Brom striker Dwight Gayle has been awarded the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month.
Manager of the Month
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for April.
While the Blades’ automatic promotion rivals faltered, Wilder instilled a clarity of mind in his players that allowed them to ignore the glittering prize on offer and concentrate on collecting 14 points from six games, completing the job superbly.
Wilder said: “It has been a fantastic end to the season and we’ve been celebrating reaching our ultimate goal this week. It is a team effort, including the players, staff and supporters, and this award should be shared by all Unitedites.”
George Burley chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “Chris Wilder has kept Sheffield United’s focus on securing promotion through the whole season.
“Never more so than in the massively important final games during the traditionally tense month of April.
“Fourteen points from six games was enough, as their rivals fell away.
“Wilder is a Blades’ hero and has taken the club to the Premier League with attractive and attacking football.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “April is the month when the pressure to get points reaches boiling point if you’re in the hunt for promotion or striving to fend off relegation.
“The Blades started April two points behind Leeds and the question was who would stand strong and hold their nerve to take the second automatic promotion spot.
“After unsettling draws with Birmingham and Millwall, Wilder’s man management skills enabled him to rally his troops and win three straight games to nil. He is now, deservedly, a Premier League manager for the first time in his career.’’
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United went undefeated during April with four wins and two draws - enough to seal automatic promotion to the Premier League after twelve years in the EFL.
“The Blades were 9/2 for promotion when betting first opened at the start of the season and were 25/1 to win the league.
“It’s currently a straight shootout between them and Norwich for the league title, with the Blades at 7/2 and Norwich 1/5.”
Player of the Month
West Brom striker Dwight Gayle has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for April.
Gayle rediscovered his scoring touch just in time for the Play-Offs with six goals in as many games.
His hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Preston was the highlight – three unerring finishes to prove his form.
West Brom Caretaker Head Coach Jimmy Shan said: "Dwight's award is thoroughly deserved. His goalscoring prowess is there for all to see but what we have learned at Albion this season is that he is fantastic character too with a great attitude to his football and within the team.
"Dwight is a huge asset on the pitch but equally he is invaluable around the dressing room.
"He has shown in April and throughout the entire season, which is why he was voted the club's Supporters' Player of the Season.”
Gayle said: “It’s nice to win the award and I have got to give a big thank you to my team-mates as a lot of my goals have come from in the six-yard box, so there’s a lot of great passes and great assists from the team.
“I want to be scoring as many goals as I can to help the team out and luckily this month was one of the months that I managed to score a few.
“Getting a hat-trick is nice and I’m going to have the ball to remember it by and hopefully I can get another one before the season finishes.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Dwight Gayle once again proved his class with a fine goalscoring month to confirm West Brom’s place in the Sky Bet Play-Offs.
“He has recently said that he’d love to make his loan move to West Brom permanent, and the Baggies fans will be desperate for their board to secure his services permanently.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Six goals in as many games for Gayle in April which takes his tally to 23 league goals for the season.
“The highlight was a hat-trick in a 4-1 win against Preston which cemented the Baggies’ Play-Off position.
“At the start of the season Gayle was a 14/1 shot to be the Championship top scorer. Teemu Pukki looks to have won that award but Gayle currently sits joint fourth so should repay each-way backers.”