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05 May 2017

SKY BET EFL MANAGER OF THE MONTH AWARDS: APRIL 2017

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

Sky Bet Championship: Carlos Carvalhal (Sheffield Wednesday)

Sheffield Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for April.

Wednesday cantered into the Play-Offs in the end under his calm leadership and direction which allowed his side to gain five wins by a single goal margin in their haul of 19 points from seven unbeaten games in April.

Carvalhal said: “Sheffield Wednesday fans know that I prefer the collective awards more than the individual, because football is a collective sport.

“I need to thank the players, the fans, the cook, because I’m part of a big group that tries every day to be better and better. This is what the prize represents to me, a collective award that we’re very proud to receive.”

George Burley chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.

He said: “Carlos has had a fabulous season with Sheffield Wednesday which has earned them a Play-Off place.  

“April was another great month, with the Owls remaining unbeaten in seven games and collecting 19 points.  

“They are the ‘form’ team going into the Play-Offs and must be confident of gaining promotion to the Premier League.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “There was serious competition for the Play-Off places this season, with five teams pushing really hard towards the end of the campaign.

“For a large portion of March it looked like it would be Carvalhal’s Wednesday that would drop out, but he rallied the troops and put together a string of great results to secure their place with a game to go.''

Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “The pressure was really on Carlos at the start of the month, at that point 

it looked likely that Wednesday were going to miss out on the top six.

“Wednesday’s form throughout April has been fantastic and the run of six straight wins mean they will go into the Play-Offs high on confidence. It couldn’t have been better timed.”

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Sky Bet League One: Chris Wilder (Sheffield United)

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for April.

When a side clinches promotion early, they sometimes relax too much. Wilder refused to allow it to happen, setting his title-winning players the target of 100 points. They reached it by winning all six of their April fixtures with a 16-3 goal differential.

Wilder said: "To go 17 games unbeaten and win nine on the spin in the business end of the season and then get promoted at Northampton, and keep going win the title and to get 100 points is an exceptional achievement by everyone.

“Sometimes it’s difficult when you do achieve what you set out to do, which was to get promoted, and then win the championship and then have three games after that where we could’ve just said “that’s us done we’ve had a great season, thanks very much”, but to win the last three games in the manner that we’ve done it was a terrific achievement.”

George Burley chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.

He said: “What Chris has achieved this season must be one of the best managerial performances across all three divisions of the EFL. 

“Sheffield United not only clinched promotion early, but carried their impressive form throughout April, winning all six games with a goal difference of 16 for and three against.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Wilder is one of the hottest managerial properties in English football after leading his teams to consecutive titles in Sky Bet League Two and One.

“His players buy into his philosophy wholeheartedly and it’s testament to the belief he instills that they romped to the league after securing promotion early in the month.”

Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “A perfect month of results to round off a pretty perfect season.

“The six straight wins in April saw the team reach the 100 point mark which seemed a long way off after the sticky start in August. Chris has done an absolutely fantastic job and must be relishing next season in the Championship.”

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Sky Bet League Two: Paul Cook (Portsmouth)

Portsmouth manager Paul Cook has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for April.

Cook timed his side’s promotion push to perfection with 16 points from six unbeaten games, clinching a place in League One next season.

He shrewdly found a way to manage expectations, yet still allow his players to play with freedom.

Cook said: “It’s always nice to get any kind of personal accolade, but it’s the players who deserve all of the plaudits. To finish the season in the manner they have takes a lot of character and determination.”

George Burley chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.

He said: “Portmouth had an exceptional month and go into the last weekend of the season with an outside chance of claiming the League Two title.

“The whole campaign has been meticulously managed and Paul deserves his chance to show his skills in Sky Bet League One.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Cook has come into a massive club like Portsmouth with a huge amount of expectation and delivered promotion to League One after just two seasons at the club.

“Finally the fans have been able to start looking up rather than down and the club is in the most stable position that it has been in for many years. That’s good for football and good for Pompey.”

Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “It’s not often you’ve been able to relax as a Portsmouth fan in recent years but the form in April has seen them secure automatic promotion without much fuss and still be in with an outside chance of winning the league on the final day.

“Paul’s done a great job and the momentum they’ve gained at the end of the season should stand them in good stead for League One next year.

The Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel comprises former Ipswich Town manager George Burley, Sky Sports’ EFL expert Don Goodman; EFL Marketing Director Drew Barrand, League Managers’ Association Director Olaf Dixon and Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery