The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Manager of the Month Awards for February are:
Sky Bet Championship: Slaven Bilic (West Bromwich Albion)
West Bromwich Albion manager Slaven Bilic has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for February.
February was when Bilic’s side separated themselves from the chasing pack by garnering 16 points from seven games and scoring 13 goals in the process - due reward for the Croat’s patience with his players during two inconsistent months.
Bilic said: “It was very important for us of course. We had a bit of a dip and it was important that we came back to show resilience, passion, physicality and more important than that, our quality.
“Now we want to stay on that wave which is not easy because the hardest thing is consistency, especially when you need consistency not to be average but to be at the top of the table which we need if we want to win the Championship.”
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “It was a fantastic return of points per game in February for West Brom, especially when the teams around them like Leeds and Fulham were putting real pressure on, but five wins and a draw has given Slaven and his WBA side a real sight of the finishing line.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “The Baggies’ quest for promotion is at full speed ahead as we approach the business end of the campaign and that is thanks to a fabulous February.
“After a couple of wayward results towards the end of January, Slaven Bilic steadied his ship once more in February, picking up five victories to consolidate West Brom’s position in the all-important automatic promotion spots. A superb run, right when it was needed the most.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Going into the month Slaven Bilic’s West Brom side sat in second place in the table, two points behind Leeds United and a 7/2 shot to win the title.
“After another solid of run of form in February, The Baggies ended the month as league leaders and 15/8 to win the title, and 1/16 to be promoted.”
Sky Bet League One: Mark Robins (Coventry City)
Coventry City manager Mark Robins has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for February.
Extending an unbeaten streak into a third month is not easy for the manager of any team, but try doing it when you play your homes games in another city. Robins’ players trust him implicitly and collected 16 points from six matches.
Robins said: “We are delighted to accept this award, which is really for all of the players and staff.
“This award is a product of the team performance, and the hard work from everyone
“We are taking each game at a time, concentrating on ourselves and looking forward to an exciting end to the season for everyone involved.”
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “Mark Robins has really thrown the gauntlet down with some very convincing wins in February, coupled with an unbeaten run stretching back to December.
“It’s given them a five-point cushion from third-place Portsmouth and a great chance of winning the Sky Bet League One title.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Now unbeaten since December, Coventry City are playing like a Championship team-in-waiting, making February’s Manager of the Month something of a no-brainer.
“The Sky Blues have been exceptional in recent times, it’s all the more impressive given he’s lost some of his best players since promotion to this division and in effect, every game is an away game.
“This is truly testament to the job Mark Robins is doing with his players in an otherwise bizarre and difficult situation for the club.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Coventry were in sixth place going into the month and 5/2 for the title but after an excellent run of form, Mark Robins’ side went unbeaten during February as they finished the month five points clear at the top of Sky Bet League One.
“Coventry have had their fair share of troubles in recent times and were largely unfancied before the season started - they were a double figure price to be promoted before a ball was kicked - but Mark Robins has really steadied the ship in his time there and, as the current odds of 1/6 for promotion imply, the Sky Blues should be playing Championship football next season.”
Sky Bet League Two: Michael Duff (Cheltenham Town)
Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for February.
Six wins from seven games propelled Duff’s side into the automatic promotion picture. As vital as conceding no more than a single goal in any game was their ability to score crucial late winners against Leyton Orient and Northampton.
Duff said: “The award is recognition for the team doing well – it’s not about me – it’s about the XI who are out on the pitch at any one time.
“We have used our squad and different individuals have made an impact over the course of the month.
“The team has found a resilience and we’ve fallen the right side of some close games during the month.
“The players have stepped up and everyone has contributed whether it’s been the players, staff or supporters.”
Danny Wilson chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.
He said: “What a run Michael and his team are on
“Winning 18 points from a possible 21 has put them within touching distance of the automatic promotion places and solidified their place as a Play-Off contender.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “When push comes to shove in the latter stages of the season, having the right mind-set is vital and Cheltenham seem to have it in abundance.
“Michael Duff has managed to instil a never-say-die mentality into his charges, and it paid off in February as they clinched some valuable points with late winners truly showing a winning mentality.
“They’re in position for a promotion charge and it’s tough not to fancy them with their form and character are so strong.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Michael Duff’s Cheltenham were expected to be more likely fighting off relegation this season rather than sustaining a promotion push but they continue to defy the odds and after accumulating eighteen points during February.
“The Robins look to have solidified their place in the top seven at 1/100 from 4/5 at the start of the month.
“This is the second time Duff has won this award this season and after 37 games, his side currently sit in fifth place in Sky Bet League Two, only four points off automatic promotion and are an even money shot to be promoted to Sky Bet League One this season having been 10/1 before a ball was kicked and 4/1 on February 1.”
The Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel comprises former Barnsley manager Danny Wilson, Sky Sports’ EFL expert Don Goodman; EFL Communications Director Mark Rowan, and Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies.
The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Player of the Month Awards for February are:
Sky Bet Championship: Scott Hogan (Birmingham City)
Birmingham City striker Scott Hogan has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for February.
Crossing the second city, even on loan, is never easy, but Hogan won over the Blues faithful in emphatic style. His predatory instincts gave Birmingham a cutting edge in front of goal with six goals and an assist in seven games.
Birmingham head coach Pep Clotet said: “Scott has come in and made a significant impact. We are delighted with what he has contributed to the team.
“From seeing him during his Brentford days, we were always aware of Scott’s qualities and ability to score goals. When he came we spoke about him focusing on his love for the game, enjoying himself and doing what he does best.
“It was all about the present and what Scott could do, not the past.
“Scott has been a complementary partner to Lukas Jutkiewicz and has fitted in very well. He is enjoying himself and this award is very well deserved.”
Hogan said: “It's brilliant to receive this award, I'm very grateful.
"It's been a really good month coming from where I've come from this season and I'm thankful for all the lads and staff here to allow me to play my football again and be happy. Really I'd like to thank them all a lot.
"I have always backed myself to do well and I've done it before at this level.
"It's nice to have it happening again and be able to remind people I am a goalscorer. Hopefully there will be more to come too.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Sometimes, a move is what’s needed to spark a talented player back into life.
“The fact that this was a move to a bitter rival just added an extra bit of spice and pressure!
“Scott Hogan’s Birmingham career began in earnest with a goal on debut, and he hasn’t looked back since. All told, Hogan bagged six during February, picking up some utterly valuable points for his new side.
“It is borderline sacrilege for Birmingham fans to fall in love with a player under contract with Aston Villa, but they may have to make an exception in this case.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “It can never be easy going on loan to your main rivals and doing well but that’s exactly what Scott Hogan has done.
“The on-loan Birmingham striker scored six goals in seven games in a Blues team that has not been firing on all cylinders and have currently not won for five games in the league.
“The aim for Birmingham will be to just stay in the division this season and they’ll need Hogan’s goals from now until the end of the season to be absolutely sure.”
Sky Bet League One: Matty Taylor (Oxford United)
Oxford United striker Matty Taylor has been named the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for February.
Seven goals in as many games, plus an assist for the prolific forward whose positional instincts were on full display as he notched a last-minute equalise at Burton as well as a smartly taken late winner on the swivel against Southend.
Oxford United manager Karl Robinson said: “It’s fully deserved. He has been sharp and positive and when the ball is in the box you know his movement is so good that he creates opportunities for himself.
“February was a good month for all of us and now we have to keep the momentum going through March and right through until the end of the season.”
Taylor said: “It has been an amazing month for us. I managed to score a few goals but really it’s for the team because everyone has played a part.
“Simon Eastwood made some amazing saves, the defence kept clean sheets, the midfield were brilliant and it may have been me sticking the ball away but that’s only possible if everyone around me is playing well.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “All credit to Matty Taylor, ultimately it’s a numbers game and seven goals in seven games is just about as impressive as it gets.
He’s had to put the disappointment of not being part of Bristol City’s plans behind him and drop down a division for regular first-team football.
“However, what a decision that has proved to be and Oxford Utd can consider themselves lucky to have him.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Matty Taylor’s goals have helped to fire Oxford back into automatic promotion contention after recovering from a gruelling run in the FA Cup.
“Sky Bet League One is still really tight but The U’s are 7/4 to be promoted back into the second of tier of English football for the first time in over twenty years.
“Taylor currently has 13 goals in the league, but is a 100/1 shot to finish the season as top scorer, as Peterborough’s Ivan Toney looks to have the top scorer award in the bag with 24 goals.”
Sky Bet League Two: Callum Morton (Northampton Town)
Northampton Town striker Callum Morton has been named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for February.
Socks down by his ankles and his all-action style give Morton an old-fashioned air, but his energy to press defenders and his calmness in front of goal are thoroughly modern. His five goals in six games all came away from home.
Northampton manager Keith Curle said: "Callum has had an excellent first month with us. Not just with his goals, but with his all round play and his attitude as well, they have all been first class.
"Callum has settled in really well and we are delighted to have him here. We have some good characters in the dressing room, and Callum is responding really well to the environment we have created here."
Morton said: “From a personal point of view, five goals was a really good tally and I was pleased with that.
“I was proud just to be nominated for the Player of the Month award and then really taken aback to actually win it.
“It was my first month in League Two and it from a personal point of view it couldn't really have gone any better.
"We have a lot of quality in the team and so playing up front here is a relatively easy task, there are a lot of players who create chances for you and I have really enjoyed that.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “If you’re hosting Northampton Town, be wary of Callum Morton. That appears to be the message, after the on-loan striker bagged five away goals for the Cobblers during the month of February.
“The young striker’s composure in front of goal is something to be admired and if he can begin replicating this at home, Northampton (and his parent club West Brom) could have a real talent on their hands.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “The on-loan West Brom striker has hit the ground running for Northampton in Sky Bet League Two with five goals in six games.
“The Cobblers have had an up and down season but they currently sit in the final Play-Off spot and with Morton’s goals they will hope to finish the season in the top seven and have a shot at promotion through the Play-Offs.
“They are 4/1 to be promoted back to Sky Bet League One this season having been a slightly shorter price than that for promotion before a ball was kicked preseason.”
The judging panel for the Sky Bet Player of the Month comprises Sky Sports’ EFL expert Don Goodman; EFL Communications Director Mark Rowan and Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies.