Gillingham boss Steve Lovell has swept the League One Manager of the Month award for January.
Four wins out of four games throughout the month, including comeback wins against Rochdale and Fleetwood and victories at high-flying Charlton and Scunthorpe, made sure Lovell beat competition from Wimbledon’s Neal Ardley, Blackburn Rovers’ Tony Mowbray and Bristol Rovers’ Darrell Clarke to secure the accolade.
Gillingham were second bottom when Lovell took charge from Peter Taylor in October – but the Welsh lifted them up to 10th in the table with a chance of pushing for the play-offs if they manage to keep up the results which see them top of the form table.
He said: “It’s a team effort. All of us have chipped in for our award nominations. Just to be nominated is lovely and if you win it then fantastic.
“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.”
There is no doubt that striker Tom Eaves has been Lovell’s main man during January, scoring four times in four games including a last-minute winner against Fleetwood.
Eaves was also nominated for an individual prize – the League One Player of the Month – which he unfortunately lost out to Northampton’s John-Joe O’Toole who managed to cap the same amount of goals throughout the month.
“Tom deserves to be nominated for Player of the Month and I think there’s more to come from him,” Lovell said.
George Burley, chair the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel, had a lot of praise for the Gillingham manager.
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.
“They have risen 13 places since October and all credit to Steve for this immense improvement.”
Gillingham take on Peterborough at Priestfield on Saturday.