More Sky Bet League Two awards nominations for Mansfield Town

In-form Mansfield Town have nominations for both Sky Bet League Two Manager and Player of the Month for the second month in a row.

By John Lomas
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 6:00 am
Nigel Clough - nominated again for Manager of the Month.
Nigel Clough - nominated again for Manager of the Month.

Nigel Clough again features in the December nominations while Joe-Joe O'Toole is among those up for the player award.

Clough's surging side earned a maximum nine points from three games and moved into the top half. Pivotal to that was a 3-2 win over Hartlepool from 2-0 down in the Field Mill fog.

Up against Clough are Jon Brady (Northampton Town), Keith Hill (Scunthorpe United) and Micky Mellon (Tranmere Rovers)

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Limited to just two away fixtures because of postponements, Brady’s team won them both, at promotion rivals Exeter and Harrogate. They continued their mastery at set pieces with three of their four goals coming via that route.

Hill inherited a Scunthorpe side with a year-long losing culture, but has brought solidity and gradually instilled confidence where it was lacking. Scunthorpe were unbeaten in December, picking up a crucial 3-1 win at relegation rivals Oldham.

While other teams suffered call-offs, Mellon’s Tranmere side played on – and how. They won all four of their fixtures without conceding a goal to retain their status as the best defensive unit in all three EFL divisions and move into the top three.

For the player award, O’Toole signed a short-term contract in late October, he was shorn of match fitness and used out of position as an emergency centre-back. But his reading of the game remains intact, while he scored a pivotal header against Hartlepool and Stags are currently doing everything they can to keep him at the club.

Up against him are Rochdale striker Jake Beesley, Tranmere midfielder Jay Spearing and Forest Green striker Matt Stevens.

Four goals and an assist in three games put 25-year-old Beesley in the mix.

He has become the fulcrum of the Rochdale attack. He managed a variety of finishes, too, including a cheeky backheeled flick at Bristol Rovers and a calmly stroked clip against Newport.

Veteran Spearing provided Tranmere’s goal of the month, a superbly angled drive against Leyton Orient, and a majestic pass for their opener against Barrow. He also shielded a back four which recorded four clean sheets.

With postponements decimating their December programme, Forest Green and Stevens were limited to two matches, but the mobile striker still managed three goals and two assists through his astute positional play.

The Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel comprises former Barnsley manager Danny Wilson, Sky Sports’ EFL expert Don Goodman; EFL Communications director Mark Rowan, and Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies with the Sky Bet Player of the Month comprising Goodman, Rowan and Davies.

All winners will be announced at 6am on Friday.