The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Manager of the Month Awards for February are:
Sky Bet Championship: Carlos Corberán (Huddersfield Town)
Huddersfield Town manager Carlos Corberán has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for February.
Four wins, four clean sheets and 14 points from six unbeaten fixtures kept up Huddersfield’s promotion push, but it was the calm assurance guiding them through games, notably the 2-1 win at leaders Fulham, which truly showed Corberán’s influence.
Corberán said: “As Head Coach of Huddersfield Town, I feel very proud to receive this award as it means the team has showed a positive dynamic of results and performances during February.
“Sometimes these awards arrive with the coaches as they are the ones who are the most visible, but for me this award is one for the collective.
“The main actors are the players, but there is a big group of staff that work so hard to help the players perform as well as they can. I feel very pleased to be working with all these people, and with this group of players.”
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “Unbeaten in February, with 14 points from their 6 games, endorses Carlos’s calm and measured approach to the tough fixtures they overcame in recent weeks, including a confidence boosting 2-1 win at Fulham.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “I have been amongst the many waiting for Huddersfield to begin to slide down the table, but after February’s results and having witnessed first-hand them deservedly beat Fulham at Craven Cottage, I am waiting no more.
“Carlos Corberán has done a magnificent job and as we sit here today, has guided his team on a 16-game unbeaten run in the Championship…this award is richly deserved.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Carlos Corberán has taken Huddersfield from relegation candidates at the start of the season to automatic promotion challengers with 10 games left to play.
“One of the favourites for relegation at 11/4 before a ball was kicked, The Terriers have got progressively better as the season has gone on and now find themselves with an outside chance of going up automatically at 16/1.
“Going up through the Play-Offs (like they did in 2017) is far more realistic, but Corberan has already proved an awful lot of people wrong including us, and could continue to do so.
“They were still as big as 11/2 a month ago to make the Play-Offs, but after their latest run of good form, are now into 4/6 to finish in the top 6.”
Sky Bet League One: Paul Warne (Rotherham United)
Rotherham United manager Paul Warne has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for February.
With a hectic schedule to confront, Warne rotated his side and guided the League One leaders to 19 points from a possible 21, winning ugly at difficult moments, but still scoring 13 and conceding just a single goal in seven games.
Warne said: "I am grateful on behalf of the club to take it, but I don't walk on the pitch, I don't keep them fit in the gym and I don't coach them as much as Rich [Richie Barker] and Hammy [Matt Hamshaw].
"I appreciate it is my name above the door but it doesn't feel like an honour for me, it is a trophy for everybody at the club and that must mean that we're doing something right - which is good.
"In the same way when Smudge [Michael Smith] got his Player of the Month, I wasn't doing cartwheels for him either because I think it is a team game and Smudge can only score goals if the lads get the ball up to him and we can only win games if the goalkeepers keep clean sheets.
"In February, the club got the Manager of the Month award, but my goalkeeper would have been as fitting a person to give it to as me."
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “Terrific consistency from Paul’s team throughout a demanding February.
“Seven games played, 19 points from a possible 21 and only one goal conceded in the process, Warne strengthened Rotherham’s position at the top of League One.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “After a dominant February, Warne’s side sit top of Sky Bet League One with a third promotion from League One firmly in their own hands.
“A run of six wins and a draw was made all the more impressive that three of those seven opponents are also chasing promotion to the Championship.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “February saw Rotherham go as short as 1/6 for the title from 5/4 at the start of the month before last Saturday’s surprising loss at home to MK Dons.
“We still have The Millers rated as League One’s best team, but we’re slightly concerned about some of the injuries that Warne will have to deal with now that Ladapo is out for at least a month.
“We have Rotherham at 8/13 for the title now versus Wigan at 5/4 and MKD at 18/1 so it’s very much game on, especially if Wigan can win both their games in hand.”
Sky Bet League Two: Matt Taylor (Exeter City)
Exeter City manager Matt Taylor has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for February.
Exeter’s drive and determination under Taylor saw them beat both Swindon and Harrogate despite trailing in the final 10 minutes. They also scored an injury-time winner against Orient. It all added up to 13 points from five unbeaten games.
Taylor said: “I’m proud of the way the team performed during February, our form was strong going unbeaten and picking up four straight wins, but some of the games could have gone either way and were often very close, involving late goals and dramatic scenes for the players and fans.”
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “Matt and his team kept up the challenge for the Play-Off places with their 13-point return in February.
“Matt impressively guided Exeter to four wins in five games, including a great win at fellow Play-Off hopefuls Swindon and a pulsating 4-3 win against Harrogate.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “February started with Exeter accepting they may have to settle for a Play-Off spot, but ended with them very much in the shake up for an automatic promotion place and a chance to avoid more Wembley heartbreak.
“Four wins and a draw in their five games in Feb will see them attack March with a renewed confidence.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Matt Taylor recently celebrated 200 games in charge of Exeter and his side took 13 points from five games to leave them in the automatics and into 4/6 from 9/4 at the start of the month to be promoted.
“Exeter are always one of the favourites for promotion and this year was no different as the Grecians were sent off as the 11/4 second favourites to finally get out of English football’s fourth tier.
“They are now odds-on with a dozen games left to play, and we think they are hitting form at just the right time.”
The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Player of the Month Awards for February are:
Sky Bet Championship: Lucas João (Reading)
Reading striker Lucas João has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for January.
Injured for five months and then slowly regaining form and fitness, Joao exploded into life in February, igniting Reading’s season with five goals and an assist, which included a lovely solo run and finish in the vital win at Preston.
Reading manager Paul Ince said: “Lucas is a goalscorer. In any team, if you want to be successful, you need a goalscorer.
“Unfortunately, he is scoring his goals as part of a team at the wrong end of the table at the moment, but he’s integral to what we’re doing here.
“He’s a very laid-back guy, but I love him. And importantly he knows where the net it.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “The timing of Lucas Joao’s return from injury came just in the nick of time for Reading and their fans as he highlighted his potential to be the one who saves them from the dreaded drop.
“It wasn’t the easiest spell for his club, but Joao produced three pivotal goals in the space of three days to help his side pick up a huge six points over Preston and Birmingham City and pile the pressure back onto the others at the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Things were looking bleak for the Berkshire club after their draw against Peterborough and traded as short at 4/9 for the drop, but back-to-back wins followed and thanks to goals from Joao this saw them go back to 6/5.
“They are still not out of the woods by any means, having suffered another two defeats since then, but Paul Ince will have confidence that if he can keep Joao fit and firing, the relegation spots will remain filled by the current three occupants.”
Sky Bet League One: Alfie May (Cheltenham Town)
Cheltenham Town striker Alfie May has been named the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for February.
May struck eight goals in six games, added to an assist to complete an incredible month. His four goals at Wycombe featured a delicate looped finish, a close-range header, impeccable control and an instant lob, and finally a calmly struck equaliser to make it 5-5.
Cheltenham manager Michael Duff said: “He has had a fantastic month. Everything he hit went in. His all-round game, not just his goals, has been a big part in our success in the last few years and it is nice that one of our players gets a little bit of individual recognition for a rich vein of form.”
May said: “I had a good month and I think overall the club has some results that people would look at and think we wouldn’t pick up. To get eight goals in six games was pleasing. I wanted more but I’m delighted.
“I’m really enjoying this season. The gaffer gives you that trust and belief. I came back pre-season and I really wanted to work hard this year. I’ve really kicked on so hopefully I can score more goals for the rest of the season. We know we’re still in a relegation battle and we want to stay in this League so it’s important that we take it game-by-game.
“Scoring four goals at Wycombe is up there with some of my best days in football. It was a crazy game to play in – I don’t think you’ll play in another game like that. It was end-to-end and when they went 5-3 up you just think it’s not going to be our day.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “League One has always featured some exceptional talent, but few players have ever shone so brightly during a calendar month.
“Quite simply, Alfie May owned the month of February. Not only did he produce a remarkable four-goal display against Wycombe, which included some wonderful finishes, he also added four more during the month, taking his tally to a phenomenal eight in six games.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “The 28-year-old striker was in the form of his life during February, as Cheltenham continue to punch above their weight in Sky Bet League One and at 200/1 for relegation, we can safely say that they will be playing in this division next season having been one of the favourites to go down before a ball was kicked.
“May has scored 17 league goals so far - the most anyone has ever scored for the Robins during a League One campaign – and is 12/1 from 150/1 at the start of the month to finish the season as the division’s top marksman.
“Ross Stewart has a four-goal lead at the top of the charts, with May one of a cluster of players on 17 or 18 goals. With the former non-league striker at the peak of his powers who would bet against him at least filling the each-way places come the end of the season.”
Sky Bet League Two: Davis Keillor-Dunn (Oldham Athletic)
Oldham Athletic striker Davis Keillor-Dunn has been named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for February.
Pivotal to Oldham’s recent revival, the 24-year-old was moved forward from midfield and responded by scoring five goals in as many games. He added close-range poacher’s instincts to his innate ability to time his runs into the box.
Oldham manager John Sheridan said: “Davis has been really good since I came in and it shows with the goals he scored for us last month. He’s a talented player that has a lot to offer in terms of going forwards.
“For players it’s always a boost to get appreciation like this but with the type of person he is on and off the pitch I know he’ll want the focus to be on the team and making sure we get the job done we’ve all been working hard to achieve which is to keep this team in the division."
Keillor-Dunn said: “These awards are always nice to win, especially when it’s chosen by a panel.
“I’ve been really lucky to win a few different individual ones over the last two seasons at Oldham but this one means the most as the team have had a really good February and I’m just glad I’ve been able to play my part over that period.
“We need to make sure we have a strong finish to the season now to help the club push up the table and repay the fans who have been brilliant since the gaffer returned, so this just gives me the motivation to keep giving everything I’ve got from now until the end of the season."
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “The most difficult thing in football is widely acknowledged as putting the ball in the back of the net and it certainly helps to have someone in your starting XI who can do it on a consistent basis! Step forward Oldham’s Davis Keillor-Dunn.
“Although more used to playing deeper, he’s showed a real eye for a goal recently and especially in the month of February, where he bagged five goals in as many games.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Keillor-Dunn’s goals have given Oldham a fighting chance of survival under returning manager and club legend John Sheridan for the sixth time.
“The Latics have struggled all season long and were cut adrift at the bottom of the table going into February at 2/5 for relegation, but thanks to Keillor-Dunn’s goals and the arrival of Sheridan the Lancashire club went unbeaten and took 11 points from a possible 18 in February.
“They’re now 11/10 to beat the drop and with quite a few teams in freefall around them they will be fancying their chances of pulling off yet another miraculous escape.”