Can Nottingham Forest boss fend off rivals to land top monthly prize?

Nottingham Forest's Dougie Freedman, Norwich City's Alex Neil, Watford's Slavisa Jokanovic and Wolves' Kenny Jackett up for Manager of the Month award.

The four names in the frame for the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month award for February have been announced.

There were a number of sides to enjoy positive runs last month, with the second tier table starting to take shape as we approach the business end of the season.

While it is those out on the field that will ultimately determine who goes up and who goes down, those on the touchline have a big part to play.

It is for that reason that so many changes are implemented over the course of the campaign, with two coaches still in the infancy of their careers at their respective clubs among those nominated for the latest monthly awards.

Both have had a positive impact in new surroundings, while those joining them on the four-man shortlist have also proved adept at summoning up an extra ounce of energy as they endeavour to guide their troops back to the Premier League Promised Land.

Here, then, are the contenders, with their presence in the running for a prestigious prize justified by a brief explanation of their exploits and Opta statistic tables showing the numbers their sides posted.

Dougie Freedman (Nottingham Forest)

Stepping into the shoes of a club legend – albeit one that failed upon his return to the City Ground in a managerial capacity – was never going to be easy, but Freedman has quickly set about saving Stuart Pearce’s sinking ship. Forest are full of confidence once more and finding the target for fun. They may have lost top marksman Britt Assombalonga to a long-term knee injury, but others have stepped up and helped Freedman to enjoy a honeymoon period which stretched throughout February, delivering five wins, 16 points and 19 goals.

  MatchGoalsGoals ConcededTotal TackleTotal PassAccurate PassBall RecoveryPossession Percentage
Forest Forest vs Bolton 4 1 17 323 236 51 45%
Forest Blackpool vs Forest 4 4 15 329 186 67 50%
Forest Brighton vs Forest 3 2 22 279 186 52 35%
Forest Forest vs Wigan 3 0 22 385 280 76 43%
Forest Reading vs Forest 3 0 15 354 250 54 41%
Forest Forest vs Bournemouth 2 1 15 193 109 43 24%

Kenny Jackett (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

Wolves started the season well, then dipped, but are looking to make a late surge towards the finishing post. Jackett, having returned the club to the second tier in 2013/14, is hoping to wrap up back-to-back promotions, with his side very much in the play-off mix. Six outings in February saw the men from Molineux collect four wins and three clean sheets. When they were good, they were very good, with their goal difference for the month making for impressive reading at 14-5. Having found the right balance between attack and defence, Jackett will now be hoping for more of the same.

  MatchGoalsGoals ConcededTotal TackleTotal PassAccurate PassBall RecoveryPossession Percentage
Wolves Wolves vs Rotherham 5 0 19 463 351 78 52%
Wolves Huddersfield vs Wolves 4 1 18 492 371 86 48%
Wolves Wolves vs Fulham 3 0 15 491 392 75 42%
Wolves Wolves vs Reading 1 2 13 460 328 54 56%
Wolves Cardiff vs Wolves 1 0 10 449 320 50 53%
Wolves Norwich vs Wolves 0 2 15 349 221 67 41%

Slavisa Jokanovic (Watford)

Another of those sides in the promotion picture, Watford still harbour ambitions of securing a top-two finish. They remain in that hunt courtesy of their enviable array of attacking options and a never-say-die attitude. Jokanovic, an appointment that raised a few eyebrows back in October, has got the Hornets playing with passion and desire – refusing to believe that they are ever beaten. Over the course of the last month, Watford collected three of their five victories from losing positions. Brentford, Bolton Wanderers and Leeds United were all able to get their noses in front, but were ultimately stung by the free-scoring Hornets.

  MatchGoalsGoals ConcededTotal TackleTotal PassAccurate PassBall RecoveryPossession Percentage
Watford Bolton vs Watford 4 3 16 501 394 66 59%
Watford Watford vs Rotherham 3 0 13 610 486 76 59%
Watford Leeds vs Watford 3 2 20 498 385 77 55%
Watford Brentford vs Watford 2 1 21 492 408 69 59%
Watford Watford vs Blackburn 1 0 9 403 271 69 49%
Watford Watford vs Norwich 0 3 17 422 294 53 50%

Alex Neil (Norwich City)

Much like Freedman, Neil is a Championship boss to have hit the ground running in a new post. Unlike Forest, though, Norwich decided to take action before slipping too far off the top-six pace and have been able to work their way back into the pack as a result. Neil, at the age of just 33, deserves plenty of credit for having galvanised the squad following his arrival from Hamilton Academical. With belief and consistency returned to the Carrow Road ranks, Norwich swept through February collecting five victories from a faultless month.

  MatchGoalsGoals ConcededTotal TackleTotal PassAccurate PassBall RecoveryPossession Percentage
Norwich Norwich vs Blackpool 4 0 19 624 504 65 69%
Norwich Watford vs Norwich 3 0 13 421 292 78 49%
Norwich Charlton vs Norwich 3 2 15 557 436 71 60%
Norwich Norwich vs Wolves 2 0 17 483 352 79 58%
Norwich Blackburn vs Norwich 2 1 10 590 444 69 63%

The winner of February’s award will be announced on Friday.

The judging panel comprises former Ipswich Town manager George Burley, Sky Sports’ Football League expert Don Goodman; Football League Chief Operating Officer Andy Williamson; League Managers’ Association Director Olaf Dixon and Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery

Sky Bet are the Title Sponsor of The Football League. This season, a £250,000 Sky Bet Transfer Fund will go to a Football League club to spend on players in the 2015 summer transfer window. Fans who bet with Sky Bet generate Transfer Fund Tokens and go into a random draw to win a £5,000 prize – and the £250,000 Sky Bet Transfer Fund for their Football League club.

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