The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Manager of the Month Awards for October are:
Sky Bet Championship: Mark Robins (Coventry City)
Coventry City manager Mark Robins has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for November.
What had already been a remarkable recovery from a twin lack of home fixtures and fit strikers was accelerated in November under Robins’ calm leadership. A perfect four wins without conceding a goal lifted his side into the top half.
Robins said: “I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of all of the staff and the players, whose hard work and efforts have earned this recognition.
“After a difficult start to the season, we got back into playing games regularly again and started to build momentum and confidence and got the results that our performances warranted.
“To win four out of four games during November showed the improvements we made - beginning with a hard-fought win over Blackburn and a tremendous away victory at Watford, followed by the home wins over Wigan Athletic and Queens Park Rangers, when we put in a fantastic all-round performance ahead of the World Cup break.
“Everyone at the Club can be proud of their part in this award being presented to us, as can our supporters who play a huge role both home and away in creating a brilliant atmosphere and spurring us on.”
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “It was a fantastic November for Mark and his team. Maximum points from their four games, without a goal being conceded, moves them within two points of a Play-Off place.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Mark Robins has been dealt a tough hand at the helm of Coventry City from the day he took over and that has continued this season. He is, however, a fantastic leader and once again has his side over-achieving.
“November was particularly sensational for his side as their resurgence continued; four wins from four rubber-stamped a perfect month for the Sky Blues.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “After a poor start to the season, Mark Robins’ side were a 6/1 chance to be relegated, but after finding some good form in November, they now sit comfortably in the top half of the table and are 4/1 to make the Play-Offs.
“Robins is approaching nearly six years in charge of The Sky Blues and has punched above his weight in every single one of those seasons having taken over when they were bottom of League Two.
“The fact he now has Coventry pushing to get in the promotion places in the Championship is some achievement when you consider the tight budget with which he has had to work with.
“At 8/13, another top half finish would represent a very good season for them.”
Sky Bet League One: Michael Duff (Barnsley)
Barnsley manager Michael Duff has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for November.
Having arrived in the summer, Duff is still learning about his players and giving them opportunities to claim a regular starting place. The changes he made led to a three-match winning streak, two of which were in November.
Duff said: "It is a nice feeling to win Manager of the Month for November. It's great recognition of the work that we have been doing throughout the week and in games.
"It wouldn't be possible without the hard work of my staff and players who work hard day in day out to deliver.
"However, winning this award doesn't define what we do or what we're trying to do. It's a nice little doff of the cap and we keep improving and pushing.
"Thank you to everyone who voted and made this possible."
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “Cup ties limited the fixtures in Sky Bet League One, but Michael’s Barnsley took the maximum six points from their two games and pushed themselves further towards the top six.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Barnsley have found real consistency of late as they’ve marched into a Play-Off spot and Michael Duff should be commended for his efforts since his arrival in the summer.
“He took over a difficult situation but now has the South Yorkshire side playing some nice stuff, and the results are staring to flow.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Michael Duff guided his Barnsley side to a perfect record in November and The Oakwell outfit have now won six of last seven in all comps.
“Sky Bet League One is such a hard division to get out of with some massive clubs in the third tier, but Barnsley are sitting well placed in fourth and are 4/1 to be promoted, roughly the same price as they were before a ball was kicked.
“They are progressing nicely under Duff, with the ultimate aim to get back into Championship at the first time of asking.”
Sky Bet League Two: Johnnie Jackson (AFC Wimbledon)
AFC Wimbledon manager Johnnie Jackson has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for November.
Having spent so many years at Charlton, it has taken Jackson a while to fully grasp the Wimbledon way, but three unbeaten games, including a win over leaders Orient, seven points and no goals conceded were positive signs of progress
Jackson said: “It’s a reward for everyone at the football club. We had a great run in November. It’s been a great team effort from my staff and players to get us to where we are – they’ve been outstanding.
“The Leyton Orient game is the clear highlight, the performance under the lights was great and it was a solid 2-0 victory against the league leaders.
“We want to keep our run of form going. We’re in a great place as a team and as a squad, everyone is pulling in the right direction.”
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “With just the three games played, Wimbledon didn’t concede a single goal in their unbeaten three game run.
“Jackson’s side earned a credible seven points, which included a massive three points against the league leaders Leyton Orient.
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “A sturdy defence can go a long way in Sky Bet League Two and Johnnie Jackson’s organisation of his Wimbledon side exemplified the fact perfectly during the month of November.
“They didn’t concede a single goal, which laid the groundwork for seven valuable points and a fantastic win over high-flying Leyton Orient.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Johnnie Jackson’s Dons are now unbeaten in their last seven League Two games, having kept four clean sheets in a row and are now 6/1 to make the Play-Offs.
“Sky Bet still have them rated as a mid-table side, so 11/10 from 11/8 at the start of the month to finish in the top half would be about par for them, but if Jackson keeps doing a good job, they may be able to exceed our expectations.”
The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Player of the Month Awards for November are:
Sky Bet Championship: Viktor Gyokeres (Coventry City)
Coventry City striker Viktor Gyokeres has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for November.
Gyokeres took it upon himself to make the difference in a quartet of tight games, holding off defenders with his strength, speed and sheer will, while scoring four of Coventry’s six goals, which included a magical solo run against Wigan.
Coventry manager Mark Robins said: “Viktor is hugely deserving of this award and can be very proud of the recognition of his performances.
“He scored four goals during the period, which were key in us achieving such a positive set of results, but also his all-round performances for the team were big contributions to what we were able to achieve during November.
“He is continuing to develop well with us and, while there are still areas for him to improve and he needs to continue with the same effort and hard work he has displayed so far, we are seeing Viktor becoming one of the best strikers at this level.”
Gyokeres said: “I’m delighted to win the award. It was a great month for the team and for me personally and to score and help the team to pick up maximum points was brilliant for everyone.
“It’s always an amazing feeling to score and it’s something I’m always hungry for; to score goals and to help the team win.
“It was a tough start to the season, but I think you could see that when we are playing regularly it helps a lot and we were able to get into a rhythm and start firing.
“All of my teammates have helped me to win this award and all of the supporters, who are incredible and show their fantastic support week in week out, so I would like to thank them all and hopefully we can pick up where we left off this month.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Coventry’s star man of late was superb in the month of November, notching four goals for his side as they blitzed through four-straight wins.
“He’s become one of the stars of the Sky Bet Championship and has helped catapult Coventry from the depths of a relegation battle to on the periphery of the Play-Offs!”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Coventry striker Viktor Gyokeres scored four goals in four games during November to help The Sky Blues pick up maximum points, with the Swede now the joint top scorer in the division with nine goals.
“This makes him Sky Bet’s joint-favourite at 8/1 from 25/1 at the start of the month to finish the season as the Championship’s top marksman.”
Sky Bet League One: Connor Ripley (Morecambe)
Morecambe goalkeeper Connor Ripley has been named the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for November.
Produced the month’s outstanding individual performance in League One with two heroic penalty saves – from different players – to secure his side a point against Derby. He also made other important reaction stops at Lincoln.
Morecambe manager Derek Adams said: “Connor deserves the recognition that comes with winning this award after his recent performances for us.
“Since he joined the Club in the summer, he has proven to be a real asset to the squad we have here. He has produced some big saves at crucial stages, none more so than the two penalty stops against Derby County at the start of the month.
“We’re all pleased for Connor, who is a worthy winner of the award.”
Ripley said: “I’m really pleased to have won this award, particularly given the strength of the other players that were nominated.
“I’ve been shortlisted a few times before in my career, but this is the first time I have won, so it’s a real honour to have been chosen. To save two penalties in a match is not something you see very often, and to have made such a contribution against a side like Derby County was a good feeling.
“It’s always nice to pick up individual awards, but the focus is solely on the team and completing our objectives come the end of the season with plenty of points still to play for.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Goalkeepers don’t always get the plaudits they deserve, but it would be impossible to ignore Connor Ripley’s efforts for Morecambe in the month of November, headlined by a stunning pair of penalty saves as his side earned a point against Derby County.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Thanks to the heroic performances of goalkeeper Connor Ripley, Morecambe have improved their chance of extending their stay in Sky Bet League One.
“The Shrimps are still bottom on goal difference and as short as 1/6 to be relegated, but they would almost certainly be cut adrift by now had it not been for some excellent performances between the sticks from Ripley – most notably with two penalty saves in the 1-1 draw with Derby before making some other big saves to earn a point against promotion hopefuls Pompey.”
Sky Bet League Two: Billy Waters (Barrow)
Barrow striker Billy Waters has been named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for November.
His four goals in three games may have been from a total distance of only 18 yards, but they showcased perfectly his predatory instincts, turning home loose balls in the box, including a brilliant volley on the turn in his hat-trick against Colchester.
Barrow manager Pete Wild said: “It’s a great achievement for Bill and a well-deserved award. I’m really pleased for him.
“He’s now bringing goals to his game and re-establishing himself back in League Two, evidenced by winning this award. I know the group will be really pleased for Billy too.”
Waters said: “I’m absolutely delighted to win this award, to be Player of the Month for League Two is a fantastic achievement for me personally.
“It’s been a tough road at times the past few years for me, so it means a lot to win this award.
“I dropped out of the Football League in 2020. I had a good spell at Torquay and then Pete Wild picked me up and brought me back north to play for Halifax, and then obviously brought me to Barrow.
“The fans at Barrow have been fantastic for us this season. They really spur the lads on, and Holker Street is a stadium where you feel the fans are close and right behind you.
“I have a manager in Pete Wild who believes in me, which helps massively. We’ve got a fantastic set of lads here too.
“We’ve had a great year so far as a team, and I’m excited to get right back out there and see where this season takes us.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “November brought a fantastic return for Barrow striker Billy Waters as his poacher instincts reaped the rewards.
“November may have only yielded three games, but Waters managed to bag on four occasions, all results of his predatory instinct and clinical finishing.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “November saw Barrow striker Billy Waters hit a rich vein of form with four goals in three games to take his tally to seven for the season.
“His goals have helped to keep Barrow punching well above their weight in fourth place in Sky Bet League Two.
“Barrow were favourites for relegation before a ball was kicked at 11/4 (500/1 now) and as big as 14/1 for promotion for which they are now only 4/1.
“Sky Bet probably have to conclude that we got it wrong about them before the season – and they’ve really surprised us with some excellent recruitment from the National League.
“Waters and some of his teammates hadn’t really convinced at this level in the past, but the results have spoken for themselves, and Pete Wild and his team deserve full credit for that.”