Sky Bet Championship: Nigel Pearson, Billy Davies, Stuart Gray and Harry Redknapp up for monthly prize
Nigel Pearson, Billy Davies, Stuart Gray and Harry Redknapp are up for the Championship Manager of the Month award.
Last Updated: 06/02/14 7:43am
Pearson ensured that Leicester City secured maximum points from their second-tier fixtures in January, while Davies and Redknapp consolidated Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers' standing among the front-runners and Gray helped to turn the tide at Sheffield Wednesday.
Leicester and Wednesday also have contenders for the Player of the Month prize, in the form of striker David Nugent and goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, while Doncaster Rovers winger Mark Duffy and Reading striker Adam Le Fondre complete the four-man shortlist.
The judging panel comprises Sky Sports' Football League expert Don Goodman, the Football League's Head of Communications John Nagle, League Managers' Association director Olaf Dixon and Sky Bet's Head of Football Paul Wiggins.
The winners will be announced on Friday morning.
Here, Sky Sports considers more closely the managers in contention.
Nigel Pearson (Leicester City)
A perfect month saw Pearson's Foxes side earn a maximum 15 points and move eight points clear. His unflappable manner complemented the vibrancy of his team's attacking play, the highlight being a 4-1 win over East Midlands rivals Derby County.
Billy Davies (Nottingham Forest)
Davies proved his tactical acumen with a starring role in Forest's 4-2 win over Watford. His three substitutes scored all of the goals between them as the hosts came from 2-0 down and completed an unbeaten month with eight points from 12.
Stuart Gray (Sheffield Wednesday)
Gray put the finishing touches to his Owls job application in exemplary manner. A rousing 6-0 Yorkshire derby victory over Leeds United stood out in an unbeaten month as his calm manner secured the Hillsborough job on a full-time basis.
Harry Redknapp (Queens Park Rangers)
Redknapp's patience and ability to instil confidence in players appears to have solved Rangers' early season inconsistency by masterminding four January wins from as many matches, including an impressive 3-1 victory at Ipswich Town.
Sky Sports also takes a look at those in the mix to be named Player of the Month.
Mark Duffy (Doncaster Rovers)
Duffy has blossomed in his first season at Championship level. Given the freedom to attack, he spent January beating defenders on both wings and creating chances for others. The 28-year-old sealed Rovers' 3-0 win over Charlton Athletic with a mazy dribble and shot.
Chris Kirkland (Sheffield Wednesday)
Given a chance to re-establish himself in the Wednesday side, Kirkland's shot-stopping has been outstanding. Several brilliant saves preserved a point at Burnley while the 32-year-old was similarly defiant under intense pressure in the Owls' 1-1 draw at Millwall.
Adam Le Fondre (Reading)
Two predatory hat-tricks in successive home games from Le Fondre underpinned 7-1 and 5-1 home wins for the Royals against Bolton Wanderers and Blackpool respectively. The victories owed everything to the 27-year-old's instinctive positioning, sharpness and coolness in front of goal.
David Nugent (Leicester City)
Nugent led from the front to impressive effect as Leicester continued their winning ways. Of his side's 12 January goals, the 28-year-old scored four - including a sharp finish for the vital late winner at Leeds United. He laid on the final pass for four more.