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Sky Bet EFL Manager and Player of the Month April winners!

13 May 2022

The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Manager of the Month Awards for April are:

Sky Bet Championship: Steve Cooper (Nottingham Forest)

Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for April.

In the ever-competitive Championship, consistency is priceless, so Forest’s April record of seven wins from eight games with a 19-3 goal differential in their hunt for automatic promotion said everything about the mindset Cooper had created.

Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.

He said: “21 points from a possible 24 has cemented a Play-Off place for Steve’s Forest side, putting their destiny in their own hands.

“Scoring 19 goals in April, with confidence sky high, sets up a thrilling end to the season.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “The journey that Steve Cooper has taken the Nottingham Forest fans on this season will live long in the memory whether they reach their ultimate aim of promotion back to the Premier League or not.

“He’s taken 76 points from 38 games in charge, a better points per game ratio than even Fulham managed and allowed the club to dream once again.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “It’s been some turnaround for Forest who were joint fifth favourites for promotion at 5/1 before a ball was kicked, but eight weeks into the season found themselves bottom of the table and as big as 100/1 to be promoted.

“Cooper’s Forest are now our 7/4 favourites to win the Play-Offs.”

Sky Bet League One: Gareth Ainsworth (Wycombe Wanderers)

Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for April.

His astute management style, experience and knowledge of his players steered Wycombe through an unbeaten month and into the play-off places on the final day, amassing 17 points and 13 goals from seven games in the process.

Ainsworth said: “April was a massive month for us, particularly with us coming back after a two-week international break and hoping to carry on momentum from a good run of results in March.

“The boys were brilliant in every department and it was a fantastic achievement for us to break into the top six, particularly with lots of teams around us picking up good results as well.

“I’m delighted to win the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month award, which is testament to the hard work and focus of everyone at the training ground, including all the players and staff.”

Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.

He said: “Gareth’s Wycombe sprinted through April and snatched a Play-Off place with a 17-point return after seven unbeaten games.

“Wins against Play-Off rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Plymouth enabled them to catapult into the top 6 on the final day of the season.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Wycombe saved their best until last this season and will look back on a 2-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle as a crucial part of an April run that ultimately rewarded them a place in this season’s Play-Offs.

“May could be even better, as they overcame the threat of an extremely good MK Dons to leave themselves 90 minutes away from a return to the Championship.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “We had the Chairboys rated as mid-table before the season started and 13/2 to be promoted straight back to the Championship, so they have once again punched above their weight under Ainsworth and continued to do so when beating MK Dons in the semi-finals, which saw their odds of promotion tumble from 7/2 to 6/5 now.

“They’ll have to overcome their outsider tag once more against a resurgent Sunderland in the final, but they have big game experience in spades and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see Ainsworth’s men triumph in the Play-Off final once more.”

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 April.

Exeter had suffered heartache in each of the past five seasons, losing in three play-off finals. Taylor set aside the crushing pressure that history created to lead his side convincingly to automatic promotion with 16 points from seven games.

Taylor said: “It’s a great recognition for the players and staff for their efforts throughout the season.

“Seven games last month was a bit of a slog, and it’s felt like that throughout the season at times.

“In relation to the way the players have conducted themselves and the support of staff has been spot on and allowed us to have the success we have had.

“We’ve got better as the season has gone on, five wins throughout that month, only one defeat and one draw was a fantastic points return.

“The product on the pitch kept on improving and ultimately allowed us to be promoted with a couple games to spare which is a nice feeling.

“You go back to the start of the month, those games at Newport and certainly away at Carlisle and the late winner and feeling we got off the back going into a run of home fixtures really saw us through.

“You want to save your best months for the end of the season as that is when it matters most and we had a fantastic April.

Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.

He said: “That’s the way to finish a season - 16 points from seven games and an automatic promotion place! Congratulations to Matt and his excellent Exeter team.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “The man to finally overcome Exeter City’s promotion jinx delivered it in dramatic fashion with a come-from-behind victory over Barrow on a famous Tuesday night at St James Park. 

“An April which relied heavily on narrow victories and clean sheets meant that the party could officially start and the club which has had so many near misses could finally start to plan for life back in League One.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Before the season started, Exeter were once again one of the favourites for promotion at 11/4, but Taylor deserves huge credit in delivering the promotion the club have been striving for all these years.

“It’s been some performance from the Grecians, and although they will have been disappointed not to wrap up the title at the weekend, they’ll be delighted to end the season with a job well done.”

Matt Taylor.jpg

The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Player of the Month Awards for April are:

Sky Bet Championship: Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest)

Nottingham Forest winger Brennan Johnson has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for April.

Whether it was his two clinical finishes at Blackpool or a superb cross to assist the only goal at Peterborough, the dynamic Johnson displayed his growing maturity as he contributed four goals and four assists to the Forest charge.

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Maybe the standout young talent in the Championship this season, Johnson’s goals and assists have been critical in Forest’s surge up the table to the very cusp of automatic promotion. 

“Now with a two-legged semi-final against Sheffield United on the cards, Johnson and his teammates will have to dust themselves down and make sure they maintain the high standards they’ve set in one of the most high-pressured set of games in football.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Brennan Johnson enjoyed another superb month during April as the forward registered four goals and four assists which played a key role in confirming Forest’s place as our 7/4 Play-Off favourites.

“Johnson has been one of the outstanding players in the second tier this season and was recently named EFL Young Player of the Year, having contributed more goals and assists than any other Forest player.”

Sky Bet League One: Lee Gregory (Sheffield Wednesday)

Sheffield Wednesday striker Lee Gregory has been named the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for April.   

Scored seven of Wednesday’s 14 goals in the month. His guile and craft, clever positioning and experience were evident in the clever volley at MK Dons, a deft flick against Portsmouth and a delightfully diverse hat-trick at Fleetwood.

Wednesday manager Darren Moore said: “You always want your number nine scoring goals and we’re lucky to have seen that from Lee this season. 

“He fully deserves this award after so much consistency, he’s brought bags of experience into our dressing room.”

Gregory said: “I’m really pleased to win this award. I pride myself on scoring goals and I hit some good form. 

“As nice as this award is, it’s a team game and as a team we fell short unfortunately, but we’ll look to come back ready to go next season.

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Although ultimately not to be, Gregory’s goals across March, April and indeed May were the spearhead of Wednesday’s promotion push and again proved his class as a goalscorer at this level. 

“His movement and finishing ability are up there with the most valuable skills a striker can possess and Wednesday will need him firing again next season if they are to go one better.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Lee Gregory was in superb form for Sheffield Wednesday in April as the striker scored seven goals in seven games and, despite missing quite a few games this season through injury, Gregory is The Owls highest scorer in a league campaign in over a decade, finishing the regular season with 16 goals.” 

Lee Gregory.jpg

Sky Bet League Two: Elliot Anderson (Bristol Rovers)

Bristol Rovers midfielder Elliot Anderson has been named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for April. 

Using his quick feet and focused mind, the teenage Newcastle loanee contributed three goals that were either equalisers or winners to Rovers’ promotion surge. He also added a pair of assists in the thrilling comeback victory at Rochdale.

Anderson said: “I’m delighted to receive the award from Sky Bet League Two. I’m enjoying my football and Bristol Rovers is a great club to be playing for.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “It almost needs to be pointed out that the criteria for this award is judged solely on Anderson’s performances in April, before the frankly ridiculous performance he turned in on the dramatic final day, adding two assists and a goal to the three goals and two assists he registered in April. 

“He heads back to Newcastle United with a reputation as one of the most exciting young players in the country, and understandably gaining a huge amount of interest from across the footballing pyramid.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Elliot Anderson continued to have a big impact on Bristol Rovers’ season since joining the club on loan at the end of January and was their stand-out performer in April with three goals and two assists.

“The Gas were 5/2 second favourites for promotion before a ball was kicked, but after an indifferent first half of the season they were languishing in 17th place and traded as big as 20/1 for promotion midway through December.

“Since signing Anderson on loan, Rovers have picked up 44 points in 21 games and overcame odds of 13/8 to be promoted on the final day, thanks again to a superb performance and a late 7th goal from Anderson.”

Elliot Anderson.jpeg

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