The August winners for the Sky Bet Championship Player and Manager of the Month award are...
Manager: Steve Cooper (Swansea City)
Swansea City manager Steve Cooper has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for August.
New to senior management and without Daniel James and Oli McBurnie, the stars of last season’s team, Cooper’s achievement in leading Swansea unbeaten to 16 points from a possible 18 and the top of the Championship is nothing short of extraordinary.
Cooper said: “This award is not about an individual - it is a reflection of the hard work and effort put in not only by the players but the coaching staff and everyone connected to the club.
“From the small amount of time I’ve been here, it is clear to me that every single person working for this football club is so driven and passionate to help Swansea City progress.
“Results-wise it has been a good start for us, and I’m delighted for everyone none more so than the supporters because they have been incredible.
“We are only six games in so we are not getting carried away. The challenge for everyone now is to remain focussed and continue working hard to ensure our good start is more than that.”
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “Steve Cooper has started his managerial career with aplomb, winning five games and drawing one in the Sky Bet Championship is no mean feat.
“Steve’s experience in his coaching career to date has certainly been bought into by his Swansea players. The head to head with Leeds at the end of August at Elland road and the resulting win will serve as a great confidence booster for Steve and the whole Swansea set up.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “When Graham Potter departed to take up a role at Premier League Brighton in May, Cooper was a slightly left-field choice as his replacement, despite being a World Cup winning manager!
“It seems a shrewd choice now given Swansea’s best ever start to a season, 12 goals in six games and a side sitting top of the Championship.’’
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Not many people would have fancied Steve Cooper’s Swansea side to top the table after six games.
“The Swans were rated as a mid-table outfit before the season started and were an 8/1 shot for promotion.
“Cooper’s men now rank as one of the promotion favourites and are 3/1 to get back to the top flight of English football.”
Player: Daniel Johnson (Preston North End)
Preston North End midfielder Daniel Johnson has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for August.
Four goals and three assists in six games offer proof that Preston manager Alex Neil was right to hand Johnson a more advanced role to start this season.
The change of position has given his passes more impact as he lends creativity to the North End attack.
Preston North End manager Alex Neil said: “The biggest thing DJ has done, is that he has pretty much affected every game we have played in. That is the best trait you can have as a player – score goals, make assists and had massive contributions for us, so it is richly deserved.
“A lot of the time, a lot of the so-called bigger clubs get a lot of praise and a lot of credit and it is really nice that whoever has made the decision has voted our way and voted DJ’s way, because it recognises how well he has started the season.
“DJ will be the first to tell you that his performances and the way he has affected games has been stimulated by his team-mates as well, but equally, if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have started as well as we have done.
“It all folds into each other; we are a proper team, a proper unit and the lads are delighted for DJ, as am I and it is nice he is getting his recognition.”
Johnson said: “On a personal level I am happy to get the award, but without the boys this wouldn’t have been achievable, so credit to them as well.
“I have been really pleased with the start of the season, but there is still a long way to go; hopefully I can keep this form up and continue to help the team. I like to play in that position higher up the pitch, where I can contribute with assists and goals.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Preston’s ‘50 grand’ man is enjoying perhaps one of his best spell since he played a pivotal part of the Lilywhites’ promotion from League One in 2014/15.
“He’s excelled in a more attacking No.10 role, scoring and creating goals and relishing the responsibility of being the team’s creative hub during Preston’s strong start to the season.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Playing in a more advanced role this season for Preston, Johnson has started well, scoring three goals in August.
“At 33/1 for the Golden Boot, he’s not expected to challenge the league’s big hitters come the end of the season, but thanks to his performances Preston are simmering nicely, just outside the Play-Off positions.
“The Lilywhites are a 9/1 shot to be promoted this season.”