Manager and striker shortlisted for Championship gongsRoyals boss Steve Clarke has been named on the shortlist for Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for September, while striker Nick Blackman is in the running for the Sky Bet Player of the Month award.
September was certainly a fruitful month for the Royals – when the league action restarted after the first international break, boss Clarke led the side to three wins from the four Championship clashes last month. That all kicked off with a rousing 5-1 win against Ipswich live on Sky, and the following weekend that was followed with a terrific 2-0 away triumph at Bristol City. The month was capped with a 2-1 away victory at Turf Moor, which saw Reading leapfrog Burnley to claim third spot in the Championship table.
Nick Blackman continued his rich vein of goalscoring form from August into last month – indeed he scored in each of the three victories. The forward netted from a tight angle and laid on two goals for strike-partner Orlando Sa against Ipswich to kick-start the month, and followed up with rapid openers against both Bristol City and Burnley to put the travelling Royals support into fine voice.
There will certainly be stiff competition for both this month. Also in the running for the Manager of the Month award are three managers that oversaw undefeated months for their teams. Most notably, Aitor Karanka and Middlesbrough won all four of their league fixtures last month, ahead of their visit to Madejski Stadium at the start of this month. Chris Hughton, whose Brighton team still top the table, earned two wins and two draws for the Seagulls and Derby boss Paul Clement out a forgettable August behind him as he led the Rams to 10 points from four fixtures.
Providing competition for Nick for the players’ award are three other players that enjoyed an eye-catching month in the Championship. As well as becoming a father, Boro defender Daniel Ayala helped his side to two clean-sheets and at the other end of the field netted a winning goal against Nottingham Forest. Huddersfield Town man Emyr Huws netted four goals from midfield, including a long-distance effort against Bolton, while striker Jordan Rhodes returned from ankle injury to pull Blackburn Rovers up the league by their bootstraps – he found the net five times including a remarkable individual goal away at QPR.
Sky Bet will announce the winners of the two Championship awards at 6am on Friday 9th October.
Hopefully October will prove another abundant month for Reading – we got off to the right start with a win against Middlesbrough last weekend, and we return to Madejski Stadium on Saturday 17th October to face Charlton. Hoping to come to that game? Click here for ticket information.