The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Player of the Month Awards for February are...
Sky Bet Championship: Teemu Pukki (Norwich City)
Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for February.
Pukki’s goal droughts don’t tend to last long. His ability to stealthily step away from defenders and time his runs means he will always create opportunities for himself. Seven goals in as many games took Norwich back to the top.
Norwich manager Daniel Farke said: “It was a good month for us and a good month for Teemu. We’re pleased for him, because his performances have been outstanding of late and this award is well deserved.
“He was always there with key goals. He isn’t the type of player to score fancy goals in big victories, he’s always there with crucial goals at important times.
“It isn’t just his goals, his workload for the team is top class. His pressing, defensive work and work against the ball. He’s a top player and we all should value that we have him playing in the yellow jersey.”
Pukki said: “It was a great month. There were a lot of Norwich City players who could have won this prize, but I was really happy on a personal level with how I performed.
“Ultimately, it’s about the collective. It’s nice to win an individual award, but there’s only one prize I’m focussed on this season and that is the Premier League. It’s a nice moment, but in the end it won’t mean anything if we don’t complete our objective of getting promoted.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Pukki’s form was relentless in February, scoring seven goals in five games spread over just 15 days.
“Last time he played in the Championship he collected the division’s Golden Boot after scoring 29 goals and whilst he has it all to do in terms of reeling in Ivan Toney, you wouldn’t bet against him surpassing his previous best season, having banged in 20 league goals already.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Seven goals in five games from Pukki put his side within touching distance of a return to the Premier League.
“The Canaries are now ten points clear of second place with eleven games left and at odds of 1/66 are virtually guaranteed to be promoted back to the top flight.
“With twenty league goals to his name so far this season, Pukki is second in the scorer charts, five behind Ivan Toney and 5/1 second favourite (from 10/1 at the start of the month) to win the Championship Golden Boot for the second time.
“Pukki and his team mates will be looking to wrap up the league title as soon as they can and are into 1/10 to do so from 10/11 at the start of the month.”
Sky Bet League One: Jonson Clarke-Harris (Peterborough United)
Peterborough United striker Jonson Clarke-Harris has been named the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for February.
Clarke-Harris scored in every one of his six February games with eight goals in total to lift Peterborough to the top of League One. His clever movement can be seen in the dynamic understanding he has formed with Sammie Szmodics and Siriki Dembele.
Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson said: “Jonson thoroughly deserves the award. To score as many goals as he did in the month and it wasn’t just his goals, it was his all-round play that helped us have such a good month. He has had a really good season on the whole, he just needs to finish it off now and he wants to do that.”
Clarke-Harris said: “I am delighted to win the award, but is more recognition for my team-mates and everyone at the club because we had a really good February as a collective.
“It was great to score as many goals as I did because that means my confidence is sky high, but it was more important that we won the games of football.
“In terms of the best goal I scored in the month, it would be the second goal I scored at Gillingham (a), it was a good ball in from Joe Ward and I managed to get a good flick on it to take it into the back of the net.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Peterborough have done it again with their recruitment, plucking Clarke-Harris from Bristol Rovers and giving him the service he needs to thrive, just as they did with Ivan Toney last season and countless other strikers that have lit up League One and gone on to succeed at higher levels.
“Losing a player of Toney’s quality was always going to be a massive blow to any team but the way Clarke-Harris has taken up the mantle, with 21 league goals already to his name, has been nothing short of phenomenal. Scoring in all 6 February matches, a total of 8 goals is a terrific effort.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Jonson Clarke-Harris leads the goalscoring charts in League One with a career high twenty one goals so far this season and at the current odds of 4/6 for promotion this season, he’s likely firing Peterborough into the Championship.
“The former Bristol Rovers man scored in every one of the six games he played in February and this saw his odds slashed from 7/2 into 8/11 to win the League One Golden Boot.
“Posh were pre-season second-favourites for the League One title at 8/1 and having been on a great run of form last month, are 5/2 to take top spot.”
Sky Bet League Two: Ricardo Santos (Bolton Wanderers)
Bolton Wanderers centre-back Ricardo Santos has been named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for February.
The imposing heart of a Bolton defence that kept four clean sheets, 6ft 5in Santos uses his physicality to out-muscle opposition strikers, but he is just as adept at dribbling the ball out of defence or playing a telling pass.
Bolton manager Ian Evatt said: “I’m delighted because Rico has been one of our most consistent players all season and, as a fellow centre-half, it’s good to see that centre backs are getting awards like this because they normally go to strikers!”
Santos said: “I am extremely honoured to win player of the month, it really does mean a lot to me. To be honest, I'm just so happy to be here and to be part of such a big club and a great team. I feel so lucky as the club, the team and the fans really believe in me and continue to support me week in and week out.
“My goal is to continue to help us be the best that we can be. I'm thoroughly enjoying my time here at Bolton and I’m grateful that I'm being noticed for my personal contributions. I’m hoping that we can continue pushing on and keep getting this sort of recognition while moving forward.
“Playing professional football has always been my dream and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for me.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Crucial to Bolton’s success in February was a renewed stability at the back, with four clean sheets in six, compared to just two in their previous 10 games.
“Santos was at the heart of that defence, an ever-present through the month, throwing himself into tackles, making plenty of blocks and clearances and frequently turning defence into attack.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “The in-form centre half was the outstanding performer for Bolton during February as the 5/1 preseason favourites for League Two sky rocketed up the table to the fringes of the automatic promotion places.
“Santos has played every minute of Bolton’s campaign so far and, after a difficult start, is now the heart of a Bolton defence that has provided the bedrock of Bolton’s promotion push.
“They are now as short as 13/8 from 20/1 at the start of the month for a return to League One.”