FL72: Aitor Karanka and Lee Tomlin win January's Sky Bet Championship awards
Last Updated: 06/02/15 8:35am
Middlesbrough are celebrating double awards success after Aitor Karanka and Lee Tomlin were named Sky Bet Championship manager and player of the month for January.
Boro enjoyed a successful month in the league, on top of their FA Cup exploits, with 10 points from a possible 12, most recently beating promotion rivals Brentford 1-0 at Griffin Park.
Central to their success was the form of striker Tomlin, as he scored three goals in four outings, his goals defeating Huddersfield and Cardiff.
On top of that, Middlesbrough moved into the fifth round of the FA Cup thanks to a shock 2-0 win over Premier League champions Manchester City.
George Burley chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel, and he said: “Aitor Karanka has really made his mark on the Boro team.
"They are solid at the back and play open, creative football. Middlesbrough are looking strong contenders for automatic promotion."
Sky Sports’ Football League pundit Don Goodman added: "Jose Mourinho’s assistant at Real Madrid is starting to step out of his mentor’s shadow, bringing exciting football and an impressive string of results to The Riverside.
"Karanka’s meticulous preparation allows him to get the best out of his squad and an automatic promotion place is a real possibility for Boro."
There was also a double in League One, where the MK Dons took both awards after a month which saw them climb to second in the table behind Bristol City.
Boss Karl Robinson oversaw three wins from five games in an unbeaten month, the biggest a 1-0 home victory against fellow promotion chasers Sheffield United.
The player of the month award went to midfielder Dele Alli, who took his goals tally for the season to 12 with two more last month.
Alli secured a deadline day move to Tottenham but he will be in Robinson’s squad for the rest of the campaign after being loaned straight back to the club.
George Burley said: “Karl Robinson has had a great January. He has made MK Dons one of the most potent attacking teams in the Sky Bet Football League.”
Goodman said: “One of the most promising young managers in England, Karl impressed as the Dons continued their ascent to the top of the League 1 table.
“He guided the side through five unbeaten games in 21 days, negotiating the challenges that brought.”
In League Two, Northampton boss Chris Wilder took the managerial award as he continued to engineer their climb away from the bottom of the table towards the play-offs.
The Cobblers drew their opening match of 2015 at home to high-flying Southend, but they have won all four games since, including a fine 5-1 win at Accrington Stanley to close the month.
Burley said: “Chris has worked hard to get consistency from his team this season.
"Getting 13 points from 15 was a great effort which has taken Northampton Town towards the play-off positions. Winning 5–1 away at Accrington was a splendid result.”
Goodman added: “Chris has turned around Northampton Town’s fortunes, and their results in January saw them shoot up the table from 20th to 12th. This award is recognition of that superb form and is very well deserved.”
January’s League Two player of the month award went to Tranmere Rovers striker Rory Donnelly.
Donnelly only joined Rovers from Swansea City in the second week of January, but he has since scored three goals in four outings to help the Merseyside team climb out of the bottom two.