The winner of the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for September is...
Veljko Paunović (Reading)
Reading manager Veljko Paunović has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for September.
Paunovic was another managerial appointment which left the Reading fans nonplussed. That was until his new team earned nine points from nine in September. His players’ attitude and battling style have won them over, too.
Paunović said: “It is an absolute honour to accept this award and I am privileged to be the one who accepts it on behalf of the players, my coaching staff, the fans and all those at the club who have wholeheartedly supported us from the moment I was appointed as manager. This is for the whole Reading family.
“As I said in my first interview when I arrived in the country, this club and the players who play for it come first. I am just here to work for them. I have to thank the owners for the resources they have given us and the great working environment we benefit from every day.
“This good start has been a direct result of a lot of hard work and total commitment from everyone at Reading Football Club. A good start is all it is, however. So we will all continue to give everything to grow our identity, build a winning culture and collectively improve as we go forward together.”
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “With two excellent away wins at well-fancied Cardiff and Derby, Veljko got off to the perfect start at the helm of The Royals to leave them neck and neck with Bristol City at the top of the table.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “The appointment of Paunović wasn’t met with great enthusiasm at the Madjeski Stadium, but the Serbian has taken to the Sky Bet Championship like a duck to water in the opening month of the 2020/21 campaign.
“The Royals have been excellent so far, recording three straight victories in September and conceding just a single goal in the process. After a few disappointing seasons, Reading appear to have found a fresh identity under Paunović, and the fans will hope that the trend will continue.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “New Reading boss Veljko Paunović has taken the Sky Bet Championship by storm so far, winning all four games in charge, leaving them in second place behind Bristol City on goals scored.
“Going into the season, Sky Bet had the Royals down as relegation candidates at 7/2 but they are now as big as 25/1 for the drop.
“After Paunović’s side’s terrific start to the season, we have cut their odds of winning the title from 66/1 into 18/1 and promotion from 25/1 to 11/2.
“They are 7/4 to finish in the top six, which would represent an excellent first season in charge for the former Serbia and Montenegro international.”
The winner of the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for September is...
Bradley Johnson (Blackburn Rovers)
Blackburn Rovers midfielder Bradley Johnson has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for September.
The driving force behind Blackburn’s rampaging start to the season, scoring three goals all from outside the area and being involved in the moves that led to three more from a more advanced midfield role than he enjoyed last season.
Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray said: “Bradley is really growing into this football club. His performances have been exceptional so far this season and let’s see if he can maintain it.
“I think we’re seeing the player that we know he is. We’ve worked really hard on his fitness levels and I think it’s paying dividends now. He’s running, he’s closing down, he’s winning the ball back, he’s getting high up the pitch and he’s scoring goals, and the team are benefiting from that.”
Johnson said: “I’m delighted to win this award, but it’s not about me, it’s about the team. The players have put in a lot of hard work over the last six months to develop a new way of playing and it’s paying off in our performances. But the hard work doesn’t stop now, we have to keep it going.
“Everyone who knows me knows that I like to have a shot from outside the box and fortunately the balls have been dropping for me and I’ve managed to score a few goals in our opening games. The way we play, we’re always going to create chances, so hopefully I can chip in with a few more and we can have a successful season.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Definitely a standout player of the Sky Bet Championship’s first month of action, it felt like Bradley Johnson was involved in everything Blackburn did right going forward.
The midfielder is flourishing in a slightly more dynamic role, and the returns are clear to see. Johnson bagged three times himself during September and contributed hugely to Blackburn’s impressive opening month of the campaign.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Blackburn have made an encouraging start to the season and sit in fourth place in the Sky Bet Championship with Bradley Johnson the stand out performer in September.
“The 33-year-old scored three goals; all from outside the penalty area and was involved in three other goals playing in a more advanced attacking role.
“Only team mate Adam Armstrong has scored more Championship goals than Johnson so far at this early stage.
“It’s unlikely Johnson will be winning the Golden Boot this season, but thanks to his outstanding performances so far we have cut Blackburn into 5/1 for promotion from 11/1.
“Rovers fans will be dreaming that this is the season they get back into the top flight after nine seasons away.”