Nottingham Forest and Leeds stars among contenders for monthly gong

Nottingham Forest's Henri Lansbury, Leeds United's Marco Silvestri, Derby County's Tom Ince and Watford's Odion Ighalo up for Player of the Month prize.

The nominees have been revealed for the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month award for February.

It comes as no surprise to find promotion-chasing sides well represented, but two of those clubs to have enjoyed something of a resurgence last month have seen their efforts recognised.

Nominations are also spread across the field, with a free-scoring striker joined on the four-man shortlist by two playmaking midfielders and a busy goalkeeper.

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

Odion Ighalo (Watford)

The Hornets striker enjoyed a productive February in front of goal, with the target found six times in five outings. Those efforts helped to keep Watford in the hunt for automatic promotion, with the capital club boasting an enviable array of attacking talent. Ighalo was the main man, though, during a busy month as he displayed his full range of finishing – hitting the back of the net with a snapshot against Blackburn Rovers, a header and a volley at Brentford and a composed strike at Bolton Wanderers. The Nigerian marksman, who was snapped up on a permanent basis in October after impressing during his debut season in England, has now enjoyed back-to-back nominations.

  MatchGoalsTotal Scoring AttOntarget Scoring AttPen Area EntriesAppearancesMins Played
Odion Ighalo Brentford vs Watford 2 5 3 2 1 90
Odion Ighalo Watford vs Rotherham 2 3 2 0 1 75
Odion Ighalo Watford vs Blackburn 1 2 1 2 1 90
Odion Ighalo Bolton vs Watford 1 2 1 2 1 90
Odion Ighalo Watford vs Norwich 0 0 0 5 1 90

Tom Ince (Derby County)

A man who looked to be in danger of losing his way has got his career back on track in some style at the iPro Stadium. Ince is starting to look more like his former self following difficult loan spells at Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest and a high-profile switch to Hull City. Steve McClaren was prepared to take a punt on the England U21 international at the start of February, and saw that faith rewarded with five strikes. A stunning free-kick against Bolton Wanderers got the ball rolling during a two-goal debut and the tricky winger, who has also helped to create opportunities for others with his clever movement and technical ability, has not looked back.

  MatchGoalsTotal Scoring AttTotal Att AssistFinal Third EntriesAppearancesMins Played
Tom Ince Derby vs Bolton 2 6 1 1 1 90
Tom Ince Rotherham vs Derby 2 3 2 0 1 90
Tom Ince Bournemouth vs Derby 1 4 0 3 1 90
Tom Ince Fulham vs Derby 0 5 2 2 1 90
Tom Ince Derby vs Sheff Wed 0 7 0 4 1 90
Tom Ince Derby vs Charlton 0 2 1 4 1 90

Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest)

Dougie Freedman has got Forest firing again and is bringing the best out of those that had seen their standards dip under Stuart Pearce. Lansbury certainly falls into that category, but the former Arsenal midfielder has been in inspired form in the wake of a managerial change at the City Ground. Entrusted with added responsibility in the wake of unfortunate injuries to others, the Reds’ stand-in skipper led by example throughout February. Consistency and match-altering spark returned to Lansbury’s game and he showcased those talents while netting in five successive games – including two spectacular free-kicks and a fine curling effort against Wigan Athletic.

  MatchGoalsAccurate PassTotal Att AssistFinal Third EntriesAppearancesMins Played
Henri Lansbury Forest vs Wigan 1 36 0 10 1 90
Henri Lansbury Brighton vs Forest 1 28 2 5 1 89
Henri Lansbury Blackpool vs Forest 1 29 2 7 1 90
Henri Lansbury Forest vs Bolton 1 36 2 14 1 90
Henri Lansbury Forest vs Bournemouth 1 17 1 8 1 90
Henri Lansbury Reading vs Forest 0 33 2 4 1 90

Marco Silvestri (Leeds United)

A roller coaster of a season for Leeds gained forward momentum again in February, even if the month did end on something of a downer with back-to-back defeats. The Whites were able to put distance between themselves and the relegation battle through a number of determined and promising displays. Silvestri more than played his part during that run, with the Italian goalkeeper kept on his toes at all times. Leeds’ last line of defence helped the club to three successive clean sheets at one stage, while outings against Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion saw him pull off a string of fine reaction saves. It was, however, his performance in a 1-0 win at Middlesbrough that really stood out.

  MatchGoals ConcededSavesTotal High ClaimTouchesAppearancesMins Played
Marco Silvestri Leeds vs Watford 3 3 0 42 1 90
Marco Silvestri Brighton vs Leeds 2 6 0 39 1 90
Marco Silvestri Leeds vs Brentford 1 5 1 36 1 90
Marco Silvestri Middlesbrough vs Leeds 0 10 1 44 1 90
Marco Silvestri Leeds vs Millwall 0 1 0 28 1 90
Marco Silvestri Reading vs Leeds 0 4 1 45 1 90

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

The judging panel comprises Sky Sports’ Football League expert Don Goodman; Football League Head of Communications John Nagle; 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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