Norwich striker Teemu Pukki has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for February.
Pukki’s goal droughts do not tend to last long. His ability to stealthily step away from defenders and time his runs means he will always create opportunities for himself. Seven goals in as many games took Norwich back to the top.
Norwich manager Daniel Farke said: “It was a good month for us and a good month for Teemu. We’re pleased for him, because his performances have been outstanding of late and this award is well deserved.
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“He was always there with key goals. He isn’t the type of player to score fancy goals in big victories, he’s always there with crucial goals at important times.
“It isn’t just his goals, his workload for the team is top class. His pressing, defensive work and work against the ball. He’s a top player and we all should value that we have him playing in the yellow jersey.”
Pukki said: “It was a great month. There were a lot of Norwich City players who could have won this prize, but I was really happy on a personal level with how I performed.
“It’s nice to win an individual award, but there’s only one prize I’m focussed on this season and that is the Premier League. It’s a nice moment, but in the end it won’t mean anything if we don’t complete our objective of getting promoted.”
Cardiff City manager Mick McCarthy has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for February.
McCarthy has made an astounding impact in south Wales, re-igniting Cardiff’s promotion ambitions as they collected 19 points from a possible 21. His man-management skills were evident in his handling of mercurial, if fitful, midfielder Harry Wilson.
McCarthy said: “It’s a lovely feeling to have won this on the back of the unbeaten run we had through the month. It’s a reflection on the players, TC and the staff we have at the club. You don’t win these awards without them.
“The players have done everything we’ve asked of them and have responded really well. It’s a nice feeling for everyone at the club as it means we’ve been doing alright, doesn’t it?”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Although the Tony Pulis stint at Sheffield Wednesday didn’t work out as hoped, Neil Warnock, Chris Hughton & Mick McCarthy have highlighted that experience can be a virtue. McCarthy has taken Cardiff from mid-table obscurity to the edge of the play-offs in just over a month in charge.
“He changed to a back three at half time vs Barnsley in his first game in charge when they needed to chase a 2-0 deficit, drew 2-2 and haven’t looked back since!
“The players say that it’s the simplicity of his message and the trust he’s instilled in them that has led to the turnaround and with two previous promotions from the Championship, whilst under-playing the possibility publicly, ‘Big Mick’ will be gunning for his hattrick.”
Sky Bet League One
Player: Jonson Clarke-Harris, Peterborough
Peterborough United striker Jonson Clarke-Harris has been named the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for February.
Clarke-Harris scored in every one of his six February games with eight goals in total to lift Peterborough to the top of League One. His clever movement can be seen in the dynamic understanding he has formed with Sammie Szmodics and Siriki Dembele.
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- League One table
Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson said: “Jonson thoroughly deserves the award. To score as many goals as he did in the month and it wasn’t just his goals, it was his all-round play that helped us have such a good month. He has had a really good season on the whole, he just needs to finish it off now and he wants to do that.”
Clarke-Harris said: “I am delighted to win the award, but is more recognition for my team-mates and everyone at the club because we had a really good February as a collective.
“It was great to score as many goals as I did because that means my confidence is sky high, but it was more important that we won the games of football.
“In terms of the best goal I scored in the month, it would be the second goal I scored at Gillingham. It was a good ball in from Joe Ward and I managed to get a good flick on it to take it into the back of the net.”
Manager: Darren Ferguson, Peterborough
Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for February.
A perfect month of six wins saw Posh move to the top of League One. Their 15-3 goal differential in February was remarkable in that 12 of those goals were scored in the second half of games – a testimony to the fitness and belief he has instilled.
Ferguson said: “This award is for my staff and the players, they deserve it. It was a great month for us, to win all of the games that we had in the month, particularly this season with the amount of games, was excellent. It has put us in a decent position in the league and we just need to carry it on.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “No manager has won this award more than Darren Ferguson’s five since 2013, which highlights his ability to get a tune out of his much-changed Peterborough sides over that time.
“Darren however, won’t be happy with a line of Manager of the Month awards on his shelf while the club are still searching for that elusive promotion that will take them and their talented side to the next level. February’s efforts put them in prime position.”
Sky Bet League Two
Player: Ricardo Santos, Bolton
Bolton Wanderers centre-back Ricardo Santos has been named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for February.
The imposing heart of a Bolton defence that kept four clean sheets, 6ft 5in Santos uses his physicality to out-muscle opposition strikers, but he is just as adept at dribbling the ball out of defence or playing a telling pass.
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- League Two table
Bolton manager Ian Evatt said: “I’m delighted because Rico has been one of our most consistent players all season and, as a fellow centre-half, it’s good to see that centre backs are getting awards like this because they normally go to strikers!”
Santos said: “I am extremely honoured to win player of the month, it really does mean a lot to me. To be honest, I’m just so happy to be here and to be part of such a big club and a great team. I feel so lucky as the club, the team and the fans really believe in me and continue to support me week in and week out.
“My goal is to continue to help us be the best that we can be. I’m thoroughly enjoying my time here at Bolton and I’m grateful that I’m being noticed for my personal contributions. I’m hoping that we can continue pushing on and keep getting this sort of recognition while moving forward.
“Playing professional football has always been my dream and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for me.”
Manager: Ian Evatt, Bolton
Bolton Wanderers manager Ian Evatt has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for February.
Following a January in which Bolton shone in the transfer market more than on the pitch, Evatt shrewdly knitted his existing squad and new acquisitions together as Wanderers collected 16 points from six unbeaten games to become promotion contenders.
Evatt said: “It’s a reward for all of my staff for all the hard work we are putting in to prepare the players well and also it’s an acknowledgement for the players who are going out there and performing to the levels we expect.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Having worked their way into play-off contention in November, Bolton slipped right down the league at the turn of the year, finding themselves all the way down in 19th position at the end of January.
“However, there was another huge turnaround in fortunes, with five wins and a draw in February to see them once again inside the play-off positions – and if they do go on and get promoted, February will go down as the pivotal month in which Ian Evatt found the key to getting the consistent performances he’s been after.”
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