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Sky Bet EFL Manager and Player of the Month: September winners

7 October 2022

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

Sky Bet Championship: Paul Heckingbottom (Sheffield United)

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for September.

Circumstances decreed that all of Sheffield United’s games in September were away from home. No matter. All three were won, without conceding a goal, as Heckingbottom continued to build his side’s momentum towards promotion.

Heckingbottom said: “Once again it has been a team effort, circumstances saw us on the road throughout September, but we managed to continue our encouraging start.

“The players, staff and supporters all deserve credit, we’ve got an impressive environment at Bramall Lane and hopefully we will continue to pick up points as we work towards the World Cup break.”

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

He said: “Zero goals conceded in September, all three games away from home and maximum points returned - terrific consistency by Paul’s team secured him a place at the top of the table.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “It’s back-to-back awards for Paul Heckingbottom, and why not?

“The Blades boss had only three assignments in September, but his side stood up to each task valiantly, navigating a trio of away fixtures to record nine points and zero goals conceded.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Paul Heckingbottom’s Sheffield United won all three games during September and topped the Championship table after 10 games.

“The Blades were fifth favourites for the title before a ball was kicked at around 10/1, but after continuing their excellent start to the season during September they are now joint favourites for the title alongside Norwich at 2/1 and are odds-on at 4/6 to be promoted back to the Premier League after two seasons away.”

Sky Bet League One: Steven Schumacher (Plymouth Argyle)

Plymouth Argyle manager Steven Schumacher has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for September.

Argyle collected 10 points from four difficult-looking games. What made the Pilgrims’ progress under Schumacher to the top of League One even more impressive was the manner of their comeback wins over Derby and Ipswich.

Schumacher said: “It’s been a great month. The results that we have managed to get, the performances we put in against some really, really tough teams – the lads have been outstanding to get the points we have got on the board and to get to the top of the league. This recognition of that work is appreciated.

“It hasn’t been easy. We’ve had to work really hard to get the points we’ve had. That’s not just the players on the pitch – obviously they are the main people who get all the credit and deserve all the credit – but it’s the staff, the recruitment team, the analysts, the data science department, the medical department, the performance team and us as a coaching staff. 

“We try to give the players as much information as possible, then it’s over to them to go out and perform and get the results. 

“It’s a team effort. I take the award and the recognition, but I couldn’t do it without everybody from top to bottom.”

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

He said: “Some excellent results in September against fancied promotion teams saw Plymouth return 10 points from four very tricky games, including coming from behind in the Derby and Ipswich games to bag maximum points and secure the top of the table position.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Plymouth were up against it multiple times in September, but still managed to come away with 10 points and that’s testament to the way Steven Schumacher has his side playing for each other.

“Twice Argyle faced a mountain to climb and twice they were able to claw back the deficit and put wins on the board.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Schumacher has led Plymouth to 22 wins from 38 league games in his first managerial appointment since taking over from Ryan Lowe last December.

“His side currently sit top of League One with 28 points from 12 games having built on their superb start to the season during September by winning games against fellow promotion candidates including Derby, Oxford and Ipswich.

“After taking ten points from four games this month we have cut Argyle to 2/1 for promotion this season from 15/2 at the start of the month and on the evidence we’ve seen so far, we’re confident the Pilgrims will be a force to be reckoned with this season.”

Sky Bet League Two: Richie Wellens (Leyton Orient)

Leyton Orient manager Richie Wellens has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for September.

Having begun the season with a near-perfect points haul, Wellens’ side went even better in September, taking 12 points from a possible 12 without conceding a goal and pulling out a healthy lead at the top of League Two.

Wellens said: “It’s a fantastic achievement to win it for two months in a row, but really it’s just a reflection of how hard all of the players and staff have worked to get to where we are.”

“The start to the season has been incredible, but that’s all it is, a start. We now need to keep going with that same hunger and desire that we have had so far, and look to maintain this momentum.”

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

He said: “Orient’s consistency continues with September bringing 12 points from four games, without conceding any goals.

“Richie and his team sit proudly at the top of the table with the best defensive record and the second best goals for tally.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “You can’t be any more than perfect, and that’s what League Two front-runners Leyton Orient were in September.

“Richie Wellens has his side flying and they recorded four wins from four last month to maintain their excellent start, and what’s more impressive still is the fact they failed to concede a goal during this period.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Leyton Orient have now made the best start in League history under Richie Wellens, who is bidding to emulate his 2019-20 title success with Swindon after turning the O’s fortunes around since taking over in March, when they were languishing just three points above the relegation zone.

“Orient were a 16/1 chance before a ball was kicked to win League Two this season, but by the end of August that price had been cut in half to 8/1, and half again to 100/30 favourites after their perfect September.  

“They are now odds-on at 4/5 (from 2/1 at the start of the month) to earn promotion to League One.”

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

Sky Bet Championship: Carlton Morris (Luton Town)

Luton Town striker Carlton Morris has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for September.

Morris arrived at Kenilworth Road with little fanfare or bravado, but just as off the pitch, opposing defenders don’t notice he is there until he pops up to score.

His ability to sniff out a chance saw him claim four goals in as many games.

Luton Manager Nathan Jones said: “Carlton absolutely deserves the award. It’s not just his goals but his performance levels and everything he’s done.

“We’re delighted with him; delighted with how he is around the place and the human being he is and delighted with what he does for us.

“We got him because we believed he would add certain things to us and he’s been everything we thought he would be.”

Morris said: “I want to pay tribute to my team-mates. Nothing in this game is achievable without a good squad of lads behind you, and that’s what we’ve got in abundance here.

“Everywhere you look there’s a smiling face that’s willing to help you. I’m very grateful for the EFL, Sky Bet and the judges for recognising what we’ve got cooking over here, as it’s more of a team award than anything. 

“We’re in good form at the moment, we are starting to find our groove and it’s about staying in it by doing the right things, getting the basics right and listening to the advice that the staff and the gaffer give us.

“They spend hours doing their due diligence so we can perform on a Saturday, expose weaknesses and use them to our advantage. That’s something we’ve been doing excellently of late and long may it continue.”

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Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “September was the month that Carlton Morris announced himself fully to the Luton Town fans.

“It had been a difficult start to the season for Luton, so results were much needed in September.

“What you want most from your strikers is goals, and Carlton Morris delivered with aplomb in September.

“The Luton front-man did the business in his four outings, bagging four to himself, to help the Hatters navigate a tricky period.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Luton’s record signing has hit the ground running this season and added a further four goals in five games during September.

“Hatters fans will be hoping Morris’s goals can propel them up the table as they look to consolidate in or around the Play-Off positions this season.

“A relative outsider in the race for the Golden Boot before a ball was kicked at 33/1 we have now cut the former England U19 international into 16/1 to finish the season as the Championship’s leading marksman, but the next goal for Morris will be to beat his previous best tally of nine goals which he achieved last season whilst playing for Barnsley.”

Sky Bet League One: Morgan Whittaker (Plymouth Argyle)

Plymouth Argyle striker Morgan Whittaker has been named the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for September.

In four games, Whittaker started the Plymouth comeback at Derby, scored the winner against Oxford, provided a defence-splitting assist to put his side ahead at Portsmouth and scored the winner with a screamer against Ipswich.

Plymouth manager Steven Schumacher said: “He was outstanding and played really well throughout the month.

“He scored some big goals for us, got a couple of assists and you can see he is growing in confidence, week in, week out. He’s playing well, and long may it continue.”

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Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Plymouth had a fantastic month as a club, and Morgan Whittaker was at the forefront of it all.

“The striker was paramount to some crucial victories for Argyle in September, including scoring two winning goals, against Oxford and Ipswich respectively.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Morgan Whittaker is proving to be an excellent addition to Plymouth’s squad after joining on loan from Championship side Swansea.

“He found the net three times in four games for Steven Schumacher’s side in September, the highlight of which was scoring a vital winner against promotion rivals Ipswich at the end of the month.

“Still an unlikely winner of the League One Golden Boot award at 100/1, Whittaker will just be concentrating on helping his team mates to continue to punch above their weight in League One and first consolidate their place in the top six (2/5 from 9/4 at the start of the month) then push on for automatic promotion which we have them priced at 3/1 for now.”

Sky Bet League Two: Andy Cook (Bradford City)

Bradford City striker Andy Cook has been named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for September. 

With new signing Vadaine Oliver competing for his place, Cook returned from the summer looking lighter, fitter and sharper. He already possessed a poacher’s instincts, evident in his five goals in four games, including three towering headers.

Bradford manager Mark Hughes said: “Cooky has had a great start to the season, and the award is well deserved. He is at a time and place in his career where he understands what it takes at this level to score goals and affect opponents. 

“We know that if we put the right balls into the right areas, he will get on the end of them, which he has managed to do on a number of occasions already this season.

“He worked really hard over the summer to ensure he came back in the best-possible state, and now he is reaping the benefits of that. 

“When he is confident, playing well and scoring, everything seems to fall into place for Andy, so we’re just hoping that is able to continue for the remainder of the season.”

Andy Cook said: “It’s an honour to take the award after what was a really good month for myself and us as a club on the field.

“Of course, it is always a joy to get on the scoresheet, and it’s great to have kept up my decent run of form through the early parts of the season, but the goals also meant a lot in getting us some important results, which is the most important thing.

“To have been able to celebrate five goals in three games with our supporters both home and away was really special, and has helped us climb the table quite nicely over the past four weeks or so.

“It has really given me an appetite for more, and I just want to keep scoring goals and helping the team as we work towards our aims for the season.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “The Bantams are flying high after a brilliant month and Andy Cook continues to stand out as one of League Two’s premier goal threats.

“Cook averaged over a goal per game in September and that’s the kind of form that may well see his side right in the hunt at the end of the season.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Pre-season favourites Bradford are slowly coming good under Hughes and recorded a total of three wins and a draw from their four league games during September.

“Bantams striker Andy Cook was the star of the show; scoring five goals in four games which included braces against Tranmere and Stevenage and the opener against Walsall to put him on eight goals so far and just two behind August Player of the Month winner and 2/1 favourite Hoskins in the race to be League Two top scorer.

“Cook is now 9/2 second favourite from 20/1 at the start of the month to win the Golden Boot and already at this stage it is looking like it could be a shoot-out between Hoskins and Cook.”

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