Steve Lovell wins manager of the month

January award won by Steve Lovell.

Gillingham boss Steve Lovell has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for January.

Gillingham were 23rd when Lovell took charge in October. A maximum 12 points from 12 in January, which included comeback wins against Rochdale and Fleetwood and victories at high-flying Charlton and Scunthorpe, lifted Gills up to 10th.

Lovell said: "We didn’t have the best start to the season, and work had to be done but we just managed to get the players working hard together as a unit and fortunately enough it turned and we’ve had a decent run since then.

“It’s hard to put a finger on what has been behind the turnaround, it’s just playing players in positions where they could be the best for the team and for the football club and getting a mutual respect with them.

“They’re a really good bunch of players, they’ve worked hard and they are still doing that now.”

George Burley chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel.

He said: “Steve has worked wonders with Gillingham since he took over in October. They had a great month collecting a maximum 12 points which included victories over promotion hopefuls Charlton and Scunthorpe.

“Gillingham have risen 13 places since October and all credit to Steve for this immense improvement.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “After a very difficult start to the season I feared for Gillingham, but by turning to one of their own when Peter Taylor left the club, they’ve pulled themselves out of a tricky spot and are now thriving in League One. 

“It was clear from day one that Steve had a clear idea of how he saw the team shaping up and time has proved him to be spot on; he’s getting the best out of the whole squad.”

Sky Bet EFL trader Mikey Mumford said: “Few fancied Gillingham to finish in the top half at 14/1 just before the turn of the year but such has been the turnaround in form under Steve Lovell, that price has contracted significantly and Sky Bet now go 13/8 he achieves that remarkable feat.

“The Gills were 23rd in the division before Lovell’s arrival but a perfect January which yielded 12 points from four games sees his side sitting comfortably in mid-table and still with an outside squeak of the Play-Offs.

“The progress made under his tutelage has been quite remarkable and wins at promotion chasing Charlton and Scunthorpe in the month particularly caught the eye.”