ROCKIN’ ROBINS AT THE DOUBLE...
BRISTOL City’s superb September has been rewarded with two individual accolades – for manager Lee Johnson and defender Aden Flint.
Johnson scooped the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month honour after the Robins bagged 14 points from six unbeaten games to climb to fifth place. After receiving his prize, the modest boss deflected the praise elsewhere.
“It was a very difficult September on paper but the boys worked fantastically well,” he said. “I accept the award on behalf of everybody, staff and players and, actually, fans as well because they’ve been part of our good form in September.
“We’ve scored goals (13), had numbers in the box and a lot of energy to our play. Given the fact there’s been tough games, it’s been a great September for us.”
It looked as though towering centre-back Flint had played his last game for the club when transfer speculation abounded in August and he was left out of the line-up. But he stayed put and roared back into action in September.
Commanding at the heart of the Robins’ defence, the 28year-old also chipped in with three goals.
Flint said: “It’s been a good month for me but it’s been a great month for the club in general. With everything going on in the summer, ‘what’s happening?’, ‘where are you going to go?’, ‘am I staying?’ and not being in the team and such, I just got my head down, worked and tried not to let it bother me.
“The determination from missing the first month’s football meant that when I got my chance I was ready to take it.”
It’s no great surprise that Shrewsbury Town boss Paul Hurst has received the League One manager award. His surprise pacesetters won six of their seven matches and only a late Blackburn leveller prevented the Shrews making it a perfect record.
Hurst said: “It’s a proud moment, the first award I’ve had as a Football League manager, but, ultimately, it’s the players’ efforts, in particular, along with the staff in the background that contributes to me as the manager getting this award.
“It’s a massive surprise in truth to be unbeaten at this point, two months into the season. We thought we would be better than last year, but for the players to have done as well as they have is credit to them and their hard work. We’ve surprised everyone, including ourselves.”
Portsmouth striker Brett Pitman claimed the player accolade after netting six times in seven games.
“I’m delighted to receive this award and with the start I have made to my Pompey career,” said the 29-year-old. “But it is just a start and I know I need to keep scoring goals once I have recovered from my injury (broken nose). I also need to thank my team-mates for providing me with so many chances to find the net.” In League Two, Notts County manager Kevin Nolan was rewarded after his side won six of their seven games to finish the month top of the table. “This is an extremely proud achievement for me, my staff and my players, who have all made a massive contribution,” he said. “There’s no way I could do this job without Richard Thomas, Mark Crossley and everyone who has supported me behind the scenes. They all thoroughly deserve this recognition. “I would also like to thank the chairman (Alan Hardy) once again for the amazing backing he has given me, not only this season but since our arrival in January.” Barnet striker Shaquile Coulthirst, 22, won the player gong after notching six goals and two assists, including a first-ever EFL hat-trick in the 4-1 win at Swindon. Coulthirst said: “I’ve scored a few goals and that’s what I love to do, so it’s great to get the recognition for that. “I’ve been settling in, new club, new surroundings, new people who’ve helped me a lot and I think that’s shown on the pitch. “Scoring my first hat-trick was great for me - my family and my mum were really happy. “I just want to score as many goals as possible, 20 or 30, and see where that takes the team. Hopefully that will be the promotion places.”
TROPHY HUNTERS: Bristol City defender Aden Flint and, inset, boss Lee Johnson show off their prizes PRIZE GUYS: From left, Portsmouth striker Brett Pitman, Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst, Notts County boss Kevin Nolan and Barnet striker Shaquile Coulthirst