The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Manager of the Month Awards for January are:
Sky Bet Championship: Vincent Kompany (Burnley)
Burnley manager Vincent Kompany has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for January.
Kompany is the manager who just keeps on giving, leading his side to nine points from another perfect month. So often dominating games, Burnley showed their battling qualities to come from behind and beat a resurgent West Brom.
Kompany said: "I'm delighted to have been awarded this again, up against some great managers in this league.
"Thank you to all the players and staff that have played a part to this; the coaching staff, physios, medical, sports science, analysts, grounds staff, kitchen staff and everybody else involved.
"It has been a great start to the year for us and we hope that can continue going forward and the hard work doesn't stop."
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “It was a perfect January for Vincent and his Burnley charges who seem to be getting better as the season progresses. Confidence must be soaring at Turf Moor after the late great turn around against West Brom.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “It was yet another perfect month for the Clarets and the impact of Vincent Kompany just becomes more and more evident
“His Burnley side are so often dominant in games, but they also showed some real grit in coming from behind against West Brom to secure an important three points.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Vincent Kompany's Burnley side have a flawless record in the Championship since the World Cup having won all seven league games to open up a seven-point gap at the top of the table.
“With a 17-point lead and a game in hand over third-placed Middlewbrough, and 1/100 for promotion, they are virtually guaranteed to be playing Premier League football next season.
“Sheffield United are the only real danger to the Clarets as far as the title is concerned and it’s basically just a match bet between those two sides with the Lancashire outfit now as short as 1/6 (from 1/2 at the start of the month) and the Blades now 4/1.”
Sky Bet League One: Paul Warne (Derby County)
Derby County manager Paul Warne has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for January.
Steady progress over Warne’s first three months in charge at Pride Park gave way to perfection in January with all four games won and a 11-4 goal differential. Most impressively, the month was sealed with a late comeback win at Port Vale.
Warne said: “I am proud to receive this award on behalf of Derby County and while I acknowledge it is handed out to an individual, this is an achievement and recognition for everyone associated with the club.
“The players are the ones that have been delivering the results in an incredibly difficult division, our coaches are putting on excellent sessions in training and our backroom staff are playing a huge support role behind the scenes. Everyone has their individual jobs within the overall team, and they are instrumental to what we’re trying to achieve.
“The way the players are working day-in-day-out and performing on the pitch is something we are all very proud of and they know there’s plenty more hard work ahead over the next few months.
“Everyone is contributing and our supporters, who back us in incredible numbers both at home and on the road, should also be recognised for the part they’ve played since we arrived at the club.”
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “Paul and his Derby team are steadily climbing up the League One table with some terrific results in January, winning all of their fixtures and finishing off with a 5-0 win against Morecambe to strengthen their Play-Off position.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Consistency is the aim of the game and Derby County nailed it in January, winning four from four in a perfect month that consolidated their Play-Off intentions.
“Paul Warne’s progress has been steady, but things seem to have ramped up a notch in a fantastic period for the Rams.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Paul Warne also guided his Derby side to a perfect opening month of the year in League One.
“The Rams went 4-0 in January; scoring 11 goals and conceded just four in the process. Those four wins from four have been vital in them cementing their place in the top six (now 1/16 from 1/2 at the start of the month) whilst also keeping them in touching distance of the top two and we are now into 11/4 from 10/1 they finish in the automatics.
“We have Derby now rated as the third best team in League One and have improved their rating by about a quarter of a goal since Warne took over the reins at the back end of September.”
Sky Bet League Two: Matt Bloomfield (Colchester United)
Colchester United manager Matt Bloomfield has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for January.
If the transformation under Bloomfield was steady until the turn of the year, it has been spectacular since. Colchester picked up 13 points from six games, with three crucial away wins over relegation rivals Harrogate, Rochdale and Hartlepool.
Bloomfield said: “I’m extremely pleased to even get nominated. And then to get the call to say that it was mine was really, really pleasing, but it’s not just me – that’s completely wrong of me to say.
“It’s the club as a whole, it should be club of the month because without the staff around me, the players buying in, the supporters being onside, the support staff driving the club like they do, both at the training ground and at the stadium, it’s a whole club effort.
“Any successful football club is exactly that – a club. And it’s only right for me to say thank you for the way they’ve accepted me over the last four months and bought into what we’re trying to do.”
“My wife usually tidies everything I take home into the loft as quickly as possible to keep the mess away; she’s the tidiest person I’ve ever met. But I need to find a space where I can keep this, and I’m sure my girls will be really pleased. We’ll have a photo later and that will be a nice keepsake I can have for the rest of my career.”
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “Thirteen points gained from six games is no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination at any level but it gains more gravitas when the pressure is on playing against teams around you. Matt’s team will gain great confidence from their January returns.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Colchester kicked things up a gear in January, pulling away from their rivals thanks to a brilliant run of form.
“Despite a busy period of six games, Matt Bloomfield’s side excelled, picking up wins against teams around them at a crucial time of the season and that gives their boss the edge this month.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Matt Bloomfield’s Colchester side accrued more points than any other team in League Two during the first month of the year with thirteen points from six games.
“Going into the year, the U’s were just two points above the relegation zone and as short as evens for the drop but Bloomfield guided his side out of the bottom three with a home win against Swindon on New Year’s Day and the good form continued throughout the month culminating with a win against fellow struggles Hartlepool to leave the U’s seven points clear of the drop zone and a double figure price for relegation now at 11/1.”
The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Player of the Month Awards for January are:
Sky Bet Championship: Ian Maatsen (Burnley)
Burnley full back Ian Maatsen has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for January.
Much improved in defence under Vincent Kompany, the left-back uses his pace to charge forward at every opportunity to join the Burnley attack as he did with a spectacular brace at Swansea – a dipping free-kick and a 25-yard thunderbolt.
Maatsen said: "I am really happy and grateful to win this award. Thank you to my teammates and family that have made this happen.
"Also, thank you to the supporters for their continued support every week home and away, let's keep going!
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “As always, there were plenty of considerations for this month’s award, but it’s always tough to ignore a defender when they’ve been just as effective at both ends of the field.
“Ian Maatsen has been a key component of Burnley’s success and his two goals against Swansea will go down as one of the highlights of an exceptional season for his club.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “It was another perfect month for Championship leaders Burnley and full back Ian Maatsen was a key performer for Vincent Kompany’s men.
“Maatsen netted a brace against Swansea and was outstanding in helping the Clarets keep a clean sheet against a Coventry side that is better than their league position suggests.
“Maatsen and his team-mates look certain at 1/100 now from 1/16 at the start of the month to be promoted straight back the Premier League at the first time of asking.”
Sky Bet League One: Luke Leahy (Shrewsbury Town)
Shrewsbury Town midfielder Luke Leahy has been named the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for January.
Three goals and two assists in five games for the former defender who has been converted into an energetic box-to-box midfielder, as adept at heading away balls into the Shrewsbury box as providing a creative spark at the other end.
Shrewsbury manager Steve Cotterill said: "I'm delighted for him! I'm really, really pleased and it's richly deserved if I'm honest.
“There could have been quite a few (Shrewsbury players) in the last month who could've been in with a shout. Whilst we've had good team performances, we've had some outstanding performances from individuals.
"Whilst there are so many players and so many teams, we're delighted that Luke has won it. I'm really, really pleased for him. It's a nice accolade for him."
Leahy said: "It's a privilege. Out of all the players in the league, to be nominated is amazing but to win is a testament to not just me but to how the team has been doing as well.
"Let's not let it be another seven years before one of us wins it again! I'm delighted to win it and like I said, it's not just a testament to me but also to how the club has been doing as a whole.
"It's always nice to get the recognition that we deserve, and I'll enjoy it. But we have to make sure we have as good a month as we've just had and make sure another one of us is standing here having this conversation again next month.
"It's been a good month for us as a squad. One of us surely had to win it and I'm glad it was me. It's a bit surreal but we'll take it in and go again. I'm very happy and delighted to win the award."
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Luke Leahy averaged a goal involvement per game in January as he dominated the centre of the field for his side.
He was everywhere for Shrewsbury during a busy period and his production is more than deserving of January’s accolade.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Shrewsbury captain Luke Leahy was in outstanding form during January as the midfielder helped his side secure four straight wins in League One; scoring three goals and assisting another two in the process.
“Before a ball was kicked Salop were one of the favourites for relegation at 7/2 but thanks to the impressive performances from Leahy and his team-mates they are within touching distance of the Play-Offs, trailing sixth-placed Barnsley by just three points.
“While it’s still a big price at 18/1 they make the top six, there can be no doubt they are exceeding expectations (250/1 now for relegation) and fans will be looking up and not down for the rest of the season.”
Sky Bet League Two: Conor McAleny (Salford City)
Salford City striker Conor McAleny has been named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for January.
After just three goals in an injury-hit 18 months, the 30-year-old scored six of Salford’s first seven goals in January. His braces against Bradford and Sutton included a sweet volley, a vicious free-kick and a clever flick to create space for a shot.
Salford manager Neil Wood said: “It’s great to see Conor rewarded for his efforts in January, six goals in as many games is a great return.
“We know the quality that Conor has, and after a couple of injuries in the first half of the season we’re happy to see him return in such good form.
“Of course, on a personal level it’s a fantastic achievement, and it’s something that the team can take pride in as well because they’ve all worked hard and played for each other.
“The results that we’ve picked up and positions that we’ve gained are testament to that, and our challenge now is to keep that up as much as possible for the rest of the season.”
McAleny said: “I’m delighted, it’s always nice to win something like that. Obviously still focused on the bigger picture but I’m delighted, and thanks to the boys too for the assists and chances.
“It’s been a good month, I still thought we could have picked up a few more points but six in six I’ll take it, it’s a good ratio so just got to try and beat that now in February.
“Our aim doesn’t change. We still take it game-by-game. It’s a five-point cushion so it’s not loads, but it’s ok for now so we’re just trying to pick up three points each game and see where we are in a couple of months.
“I’ve told my little boy and he was buzzing. He’ll probably have a play with it so it’ll be going to him then we’ll get it up somewhere.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “McAleny gets the nod for the month of January after a simply stunning run of form.
“The Salford striker’s had it tough over the last couple of years, so to see him burst into the limelight with six goals in seven games was incredibly pleasing and it’s arguably one of the best stories of the entire campaign.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Conor McAleny was instrumental in Salford’s improved form during January with the striker netting six goals in as many games as the Ammies ended the month in the Play-Off places.
“That took McAleny’s tally to eight league goals this season and into 50/1 to win the Golden Boot from 100/1 at the start of the month.
“Big things were once again expected from Salford this season as the Greater Manchester side were once again sent off as one of the favourites to be promoted at 6/4 and although they have slightly flattered to deceive once again, they are still in with a fighting chance of going up.
“Both McAleny and strike partner Matt Smith’s goals will be key to their promotion ambitions this season. They are best price 9/2 with Sky Bet to get out of League Two at the fourth time of asking.”