Joe Dunne could emulate Parkinson’s early achievements

THE last time a Colchester United manager scooped a manager of the month award, at the first time of asking, he went on to mastermind a promotion at the Essex club.

Joe Dunne is in the running, though not quite the favourite, to celebrate his first four weeks at the helm with an award at the end of this month.

But if the U’s were to continue their fantastic run, by winning at Shrewsbury Town on Saturday, then Dunne could well emulate the achievements of one of his predecessors, Phil Parkinson.

And there are a lot of similarities between Dunne, and Parkinson – both men were in their thirties, when they were appointed to the U’s hot seat – and both have an intense passion and enthusiasm for the game.

Ex-Reading player-coach Parkinson, who replaced Steve Whitton as U’s boss at the end February, 2003, went on to win the manager of the month accolade in his first full month (March, 2003).

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It was the first of three such awards for Parkinson. He also won in September, 2003, and January, 2006, the latter on his way to earning promotion to the Championship.

Back to the present and the U’s, under new boss Dunne, rattled up their fifth win from six league games with a 2-0 success at Leyton Orient on Tuesday evening.

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The first of these was achieved at the end of September – a 3-1 home win over Hartlepool – so that means Dunne has masterminded four wins from five during October, a haul of 12 points from a possible 15.

The one blemish was a 3-1 defeat at Yeovil, coupled with a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy exit at Northampton.

Only Sheffield United boss Danny Wilson can boast a better League One record than this, during October, going into the final round of matches for this month.

The Blades have accumulated 13 points from 15, thanks to away wins at Hartlepool, Leyton Orient and Preston, and a home victory over Walsall.

A perfect record was spoilt by a home draw against Oldham, but the Blades did also notch an impressive 4-1 success at Notts County in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

It would appear likely, therefore, that if Sheffield United were to beat Portsmouth at home next Monday evening, then Wilson would be favourite to receive the League One manager’s award for October.

However, if Dunne can guide his team to an amazing six league wins from seven, at struggling Shrewsbury tomorrow, then it might be difficult to overlook what the Irishman has achieved in such a short space of time.

The U’s were second from bottom when Dunne succeeded John Ward, but they are now up to 12th in the table. The transformation has been remarkable.

Two other clubs have also taken 12 points from a possible 15 this month – Stevenage and Crawley – while Portsmouth and Oldham have bagged an impressive 10.

At the other end of the scale, bottom club Hartlepool have mustered just one point from six fixtures, and Scunthorpe two from five.

Shrewsbury, the U’s opponents tomorrow, have taken just four points from five games.

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