The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Player of the Month Awards for September have been announced.
Sky Bet Championship: Chey Dunkley (Wigan Athletic)
Wigan Athletic defender Chey Dunkley has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for September.
In a goal-shy team, Dunkley’s three goals in as many games proved just as important as his commanding presence in defence.
Against Charlton, they showcased his talent, too, with a well-timed volley and a towering header.
Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook said: “‘It’s excellent recognition for Chey, who scored some important goals for us.
“His overall performances have been strong.
“He continues to learn all the time and is a really important member of our squad, we are really pleased with his progress.”
Dunkley said: “I’m really proud to win the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month award for September.
“It was an OK month for the team in terms of results and on a personal level getting the three goals was nice.
“I have been working hard on that aspect of my game (scoring goals from set-pieces) with our first team coach Anthony Barry, so it is pleasing to start reaping the rewards.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Every point that Wigan secure this season will be a step towards maintaining their Championship status, and Dunkley’s goals won his team four points in September.
“The brace against high-flying Charlton was particularly impressive and Dunkley deservedly adds this to the League One Player of the Month award that he picked up in April 2018.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Wigan look like they are in a relegation fight, but Chey Dunkley’s three goals proved just as important as his commanding presence in defence as the Latics picked up a couple of wins and a draw in September to keep them three points clear of the relegation zone.”
Sky Bet League One: Jonson Clarke-Harris (Bristol Rovers)
Bristol Rovers striker Jonson Clarke-Harris has been named the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for September.
It was not just his five goals in five games, including a spectacular overhead kick against Accrington, which stood out, but the fact that every one of his efforts was either an equaliser or the goal which gave Rovers a lead.
Clarke-Harris said: “I’m delighted to win this award on the back of what was a good month for both the team and myself.
“Throughout September, the lads really clicked on the pitch and we are now striving to carry this good momentum forward.
“The goal against Accrington was probably my personal highlight. I couldn’t really remember how I ended up attempting the bicycle kick, but it just sort of happened and the next thing I knew the ball was in the back of the net!
“It’s been a positive month and now we look to build on that across the upcoming games.”
Don Goodman added: “Clarke-Harris looks to have found a home in Bristol after a nomadic career and no player in England’s top four divisions have scored more than the 19 goals he’s notched since signing on Deadline Day in January.
“He was on fire again in September, his goals helping the club to a six-game unbeaten run, and it will be a crushing blow to hear news of a calf injury that could keep him out until mid-November.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Jonson Clarke-Harris’s goals are keeping Bristol Rovers competitive in eight place in League One. He scored five goals in five games in September including a spectacular over-head kick against Accrington.
“He currently sits in joint third place in the scorer charts having scored seven goals so far and is 9/1 to finish the season as League One top scorer having been as big as 40/1 before the season started.”
Sky Bet League Two: James Clarke (Walsall)
Walsall defender James Clarke has been named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for September.
Central defenders aren’t supposed to score goals like his acrobatic late bicycle kick winner against Scunthorpe or his 30-yard thunderbolt at Crawley.
Clarke’s presence was also vital at the back as Walsall kept four clean sheets in five games.
Walsall manager Darrell Clarke said: “James is a fantastic professional and somebody who I have worked with for a number of years now.
“I always demand high standards from my players and he sets the perfect example. He doesn’t score goals like that, so for him to score them and for him to win the award is great for him.”
Clarke said: “I’m delighted to win the award. It’s the first time I’ve won something like this in my career and winning it means a lot.
“To pick up three wins and three clean sheets was a fantastic effort from the team and to add a couple of goals into that as well was the cherry on top of it all.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Most defenders would be happy to score one of Clarke’s September goals in their career, but to score two – and for them to be goals of such importance - is outstanding from the Walsall skipper.
“The 29-year-old only netted his first professional goal last year, but given a license to roam by Darrell Clarke, he’s rewarded his manager with six points already.”
Ivor Davies added: “James Clarke has never been anything like prolific -even for a centre back - but he scored two spectacular goals in September and was an important presence at the back for a Walsall team who put together a nice run of results, keeping four clean sheets in the process.
“The Saddlers will be looking up and not down now, as they try to work their way into the promotion picture. They are 8/1 to be promoted straight back to League One.”
The judging panel for the Sky Bet Player of the Month comprises Sky Sports’ EFL expert Don Goodman; EFL Communications Director Mark Rowan and Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies.