The winner of the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month award for December is...
Sky Bet League One: Steve Cotterill (Shrewsbury Town)
Shrewsbury Town manager Steve Cotterill has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for December.
Cotterill took over a side in 23rd place and with horrendous-looking December fixtures, but mastermind away wins at Hull, Lincoln and Doncaster, and victory over in-form Blackpool for a magical 15-point haul.
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “It was a fantastic turnaround of results in December for Steve and his Shrewsbury team. They faced a set of really tough fixtures against teams around the top of the table and just outside the Play-Off places but returned with 15 points, only losing one game.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Things looked pretty bleak for Shrewsbury when Steve Cotterill took over, but their prospects look a whole lot brighter after a miraculous run of form over the month of December.
“Cotterill’s arrival produced 15 vital points, despite a horrid run of games on paper. The Shrews began playing for their new manager, and their newfound determination was clear as day. A superb period, headlined by three massive victories on the road.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “At the start of the month, Steve Cotterill took over a Shrewsbury team that was second from bottom in Sky Bet League One; five points from safety and an even money shot to be relegated.
“Fast forward a month and Salop are unbeaten in seven games (W4 D3) and have taken fifteen points from a possible twenty one available to complete a remarkable turnaround to sit five points above the relegation zone and 6/1 to be relegated.
“Sky Bet now have them priced at 3/1 to finish in the top half from 9/1 at the start of the month.”
The winner of the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month award for December is...
Sky Bet League One: Owen Dale (Crewe Alexandra)
Crewe Alexandra winger Owen Dale has been named the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for December.
With much of Crewe’s attacking play coming down their left wing, Dale stepped in from the right to contribute four goals and an assist.
Not ordinary goals either, a solo run and finish against Plymouth and a stunning overhead kick at Burton.
Crewe manager David Artell said: “It is a terrific achievement for Owen to win the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month award.
“To score four goals in four games takes some doing, especially when you are not a number nine. He has achieved that playing in a wider role.
“He has had a consistent month and thoroughly deserves the plaudits coming his way for that. It isn’t just about his goals either, but his overall performances.
“The trick is for him to go and replicate it again. He is a young player and there is still more to come from him.”
Dale said: “I am very happy to win this award, especially in the company of those that were also nominated.
“It was a good month for me personally but more importantly the team. We are in good form and the results and performances have been there for a while.
“It is a pleasure to play in this team and without my team-mates I wouldn’t be scoring goals or getting the recognition I have.
“Scoring goals always gives you confidence and I have been able to add a few more to my game. It is something I have worked hard on and I am pleased that the hard work out on the training ground is paying off.
“Of the four goals I scored in December, I especially enjoyed the overhead kick at Burton. They don’t come around very often, so it was nice to see that one go in and earn the team a point in the last minute.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “The play of Owen Dale certainly passed the eye test in December, with some sensational efforts clinching this award for the Crewe winger.
“His stats held up too, with four goals and an assist during the month, but his tremendous overhead kick at Burton is hard to ignore as his crowning moment. A special goal, which he won’t be forgetting in a hurry.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Sky Bet have been very impressed with Crewe over the last month or so and in particular with the performances Owen Dale has been putting in.
“The Warrington-born attacker scored four goals in six games during December to take his tally to five on the season.
“On the back of Dale’s eye catching performances we have heavily shortened Crewe’s odds for what would be back-to-back promotions at 11/2 from 16/1 at the start of the month.”