After a return of 10 points from four games in January, manager Veljko Paunović and midfielder Josh Laurent have each been shortlisted for the Manager of the Month and Player of the Month awards respectively.
Just after the turn of the year, we passed the half-way point of the season with a terrific come-from-behind win in Huddersfield Town, before exacting our revenge with a 3-0 win over Coventry City on home turf.
We were left a little frustrated with a goalless affair at Preston North End, but we turned on the style against AFC Bournemouth under the Friday-night floodlights to get back on the winning track and defeat one of our rivals at the top end of the division.
Pauno’s masterminding of the results earned him a place on a four-man shortlist, while some outstanding displays by Josh Laurent throughout January landed the midfield dynamo a place on the players’ shortlist.
While every player played their part throughout the month, Laurent was at the heart of it throughout. Still in his first campaign as a Royal, Laurent provided quality and energy throughout… and his all-action display against AFC Bournemouth was capped with the opening goal, as we took a huge three points against the Cherries.
But as usual, there is plenty of competition for those monthly gongs from across the division.
Also on the players’ shortlist are Rotherham’s Matt Crooks as he contributed three important goals from midfield for the Millers, as well as 17-year-old Liverpool loanee Harvey Elliott after providing three assists from the wing for Blackburn, and finally Swansea striker Jamal Lowe for his three goals as the Welsh club keep up their bid for promotion.
Meanwhile Pauno – who took the award in his first month in English football back in September – faces competition from three other managers who also secured 10 points with their teams. Those are Swansea’s Steve Cooper, after they beat Watford and drew with Bournemouth, Blackburn’s Tony Mowbray who saw his side keep three clean sheets, and Norwich boss Daniel Farke after the Canaries conceded just once in three fixtures.
The winner of the awards will be announced on Friday 12th February – congratulations to Josh and Pauno on their well-earned nominations!