Parky again in the running
FOR the second successive month, Colchester United boss Phil Parkinson has been nominated for the Coca-Cola League One manager of the month accolade.Parkinson was unlucky to lose out to Doncaster's Dave Penney in November, despite his side winning all five matches - two of those five successes came in cup competitions, which do not count in the choice for manager of the month.
By Carl Marston
FOR the second successive month, Colchester United boss Phil Parkinson has been nominated for the Coca-Cola League One manager of the month accolade.
Parkinson was unlucky to lose out to Doncaster's Dave Penney in November, despite his side winning all five matches - two of those five successes came in cup competitions, which do not count in the choice for manager of the month.
December was just as successful for Colchester. They made further advances in both the FA Cup and LDV Vans Trophy, and more importantly established themselves in the top six.
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Parkinson guided his United side to more wins than any other League One club last month, although once again this tally (of five) included cup successes at Shrewsbury (FA Cup) and at MK Dons (LDV Vans Trophy).
In the league, the U's won three of their five games, thanks to away triumphs at Hartlepool and Brentford, and a home success over MK Dons. They also secured a good draw at previous leaders Swansea City, with the one blip occurring at then-basement side Swindon (1-0 defeat) on Boxing Day.
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Parkinson is one of four managers to be nominated for the award. The others are Bristol City's Gary Johnson, Oldham's Ronnie Moore and Swindon's Iffy Onoura.
The outsider appears to be Onuora. Although the Robins were unbeaten during December, to clamber off the bottom rung of the ladder, they drew four and only won two of their six league fixtures.
Bristol City dragged themselves out of the relegation zone, although they have not fared any better results-wise than Colchester.
City recorded three league wins over Rotherham, Port Vale and Huddersfield, but they were held to draws at Yeovil and Gillingham, and also began December with a defeat at home to Bradford.
The favourite is probably Moore, because he can boast an unbeaten run of league matches last month, with three wins and two draws. Oldham beat Hartlepool, Bradford and Walsall, and drew at Chesterfield and against Swindon.
Parkinson, though, again has a big chance of winning the award. To be nominated for the manager of the month accolade for successive months is a major achievement in itself.
The U's, fresh from a dramatic 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest on Monday to rise into fourth spot in League One, take on Championship promotion contenders Sheffield United in an FA Cup third round tie at Bramall Lane on Saturday.
Colchester fans have already snapped up 1,000 tickets for this match, no doubt buoyed by their team's terrific recent run of 12 wins from their last 14 games.