The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Manager of the Month Awards for December are:
Sky Bet Championship: Vincent Kompany (Burnley)
Burnley manager Vincent Kompany has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for December.
Kompany’s leaders answered every question posed of them, cantering to 3-0 wins over QPR and Birmingham, coming from behind to beat Middlesbrough and winning a tight affair at Stoke for 12 points and 10 goals from four games.
Kompany said: "I'm delighted to win this award again, nominated with some fantastic managers in this league. It was a busy period for us over Christmas but everyone played their part and it paid off.
"I would like to give a thanks to all the players and staff involved; the coaches, physios, medical, sports science, analysts, kit staff, grounds staff and everyone else who played a part.”
Sky Bet League One: Michael Duff (Barnsley)
Barnsley manager Michael Duff has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for December, picking up the accolade for the second month running.
Wins over Peterborough, Burton and Fleetwood helped Duff built on the momentum his side established in November with another unbeaten month in which they garnered 10 points from four games to go fourth in the League One table.
Duff said: "It’s nice to be recognised again by winning this award. It’s representative of the hard work and dedication that my players and staff have shown.
“It was a great achievement to go two full months unbeaten in the league and we keep working day in, day out to improve. Thank you to my players and staff. They are the ones who make it possible."
Sky Bet League Two: Dave Challinor (Stockport County)
Stockport County manager Dave Challinor has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for December.
If Stockport adjusted slowly to life back in the Sky Bet EFL in the autumn, their winter surge has been unstoppable under Challinor’s calm management. Nine points and a 9-0 goal differential from three games made December a perfect month.
Challinor said: “December was a really good month for us in league and cup, culminating in arguably our most complete performance of the season when we went to an in-form Walsall side and deservedly won 2-0.
“We didn’t have the start to the season we wanted in the first ten games but our form since then has been much better, we’ve done the basics right and looked much more like ourselves.
“Winning every game in December has provided us with a real platform now to kick on in 2023 and push for promotion, which is the ambition and aim of everyone at the football club.”
The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Player of the Month Awards for December are:
Sky Bet Championship: Chuba Akpom (Middlesbrough)
Middlesbrough striker Chuba Akpom has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for December.
Having gained confidence while playing in a more withdrawn role, Akpom continued his fine form with four goals in as many games – all of them poached while leading the line. His hat-trick at Wigan showed off his lightning quick feet.
Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick said: “I’m delighted for Chuba. He’s been playing really well and I’m sure he’d be the first to acknowledge the role of his team-mates in laying the foundations. Individual awards are always good because overall it means you are doing well as a team.”
Akpom said: “I’m grateful and humbled, and it’s amazing to receive the award. I just want to be able to carry on my form and help the team reach our targets.
“We’re going well and it’s been a good season so far. But we’ve a lot of football still to play.”
Sky Bet League One: Conor Chaplin (Ipswich Town)
Ipswich Town striker Conor Chaplin has been named the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for December.
Playing as a slightly withdrawn striker is bringing out the crafty best in Chaplin, whose four goals and an assist in five games included a glancing header, two confidently driven finishes and a vital poached late equaliser at Portsmouth.
Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna said: “Conor is one of the individuals amongst a few others who are really developing. He’s had a really strong 12 months developing as a footballer and as a man.
“He’s had a few different clubs and played in a few different positions and he’s really finding himself as a player and understanding how he can impact games in different roles and styles.
“He’s a really important cultural reference for us at the training ground as well because he’s one of the most passionate learners about developing himself. He has an absolute love of the game that you don’t get with every player. He’s a joy to work with.”
Chaplin said: “It’s nice recognition for a good month, probably from a team point of view more than a personal point of view.
“I’m in a really good team. I’m fully aware of that, so it’s a lot easier to perform and score goals. You’ve got to be getting chances from teammates and in my opinion we’re the best team in the division.”
Sky Bet League Two: Kyle Wootton (Stockport County)
Stockport County striker Kyle Wootton has been named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for December. =
The 26-year-old has had to take the long road to becoming an EFL starter, but is drawing the reward for his persistence and patience. He burst into life in December with braces at Hartlepool and Walsall, part of his four-goal haul in three games.
Stockport manager Dave Challinor said: “It’s great for Wootts to get recognition for his form in recent weeks.
“I’ve spoken about it many times before, but a lot of what he brings to the team often goes under the radar, in terms of his work off the ball and ability to bring other people in to play – he’s a handful for any defence at any level with those attributes.
“At times early on in the season he was almost too selfless in that respect, and one thing we have worked hard with him on in is getting into the right areas on a more regular basis.
“He’s been rewarded for that last month with four really well-taken goals, in two really important away wins for the team.”
Wootton said: “I’m really delighted to receive this award, to top off what’s been a great month for us as a club – winning all of our league games and getting through in the FA Cup.
“I’d like to say huge thank you to my team mates and to the manager and coaching staff. It’s a cliché, but we really are a team here and it would not be possible to achieve this without them.”