Norwich City boss Alex Neil named Championship manager-of-the-month
- Credit: Griffiths Photographers
Alex Neil is the Championship's manager-of-the-month after a September surge from promotion-chasing Norwich City.
The Scot beat off competition from Newcastle's Rafa Benitez, ironically the only team to halt City's winning run last month in a 4-3 stoppage time defeat on Tyneside, along with Reading's Jaap Stam and Sheffield Wednesday's Carlos Carvahal.
City return to action after the international break at home to Rotherham looking to build on four league wins and an EFL Cup victory at Premier League Everton.
Neil managed to avoid the dreaded curse associated with the award on the previous occasion he won the divisional honour, in February 2015, beating arch rivals Ipswich although Wigan did inflict a surprise home defeat three days later.
Norwich currently sit second, two points behind Huddersfield, with 23 points from their opening 11 games.
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'All it does is recognise the team's progress over the last month. It is nice for everybody involved, the backroom staff and the players,' he said. 'We perhaps didn't play as well we can at the start of the month but it was important to put a run together and we have managed to do that. Since then we have got better, and that is credit to all those involved.
'(Nottingham) Forest was a turning point for us, one, coming back from behind, and, two, the manner and the style of the performance. We were excellent, we also missed a penalty, so we came through adversity, some of it self-inflicted. Our determination, our work ethic is the key. The scorelines have all been fairly close but the gulf in terms of how we have played in comparison to the opposition at times I don't think has been reflected - certainly as the month wore on. The one thing we haven't struggled about is goals. We felt we deserved more at Newcastle and if we had we would be sitting top. The trophy will go to my Mum. She has a mantelpiece big enough for it.'
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Former Ipswich Town boss George Burley chairs the Sky Bet manager-of-the-month judging panel.
'After the disappointment of relegation, Alex has got Norwich City playing exciting, attacking football,' he said. 'The month almost ended unbeaten and top of the table but unfortunately they conceded two very late goals in a really exciting game at Newcastle.'
Sky Sports' Football League pundit Don Goodman is also part of the panel.
'Alex will be confident that the experience he gained in the last Championship campaign two years ago will stand him in good stead as Norwich battle for promotion once again,' he said. 'The owner's decision to stick by him must have been a 'no brainer' and looks to have paid dividends so far this term and I feel confident that they'll be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.'
Jacob Murphy missed out on the player-of-the-month award, which went to Brentford's Scott Hogan.