What more can Parky do?

WHAT does Colchester United boss Phil Parkinson have to do to win a manager-of-the-month award this season?For the second month running, Parkinson has been pipped at the post, this time by Ronnie Moore.

By Carl Marston

WHAT does Colchester United boss Phil Parkinson have to do to win a manager-of-the-month award this season?

For the second month running, Parkinson has been pipped at the post, this time by Ronnie Moore. The Oldham Athletic boss was yesterday named the Coca-Cola League One manager of the month for December.

The U's are currently on an amazing run that has featured just one defeat in their last 15 matches, stretching back into October. Furthermore, they have won 12 of their last 14 league and cup games.

Parkinson was terribly unlucky to miss out on the November manager of the month award. That accolade went to Doncaster Rovers' boss Dave Penney.

A month later and Parkinson has again been denied recognition for his and the U's achievements throughout December. It all smacks of rough justice for U's supremo Parkinson.

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John Burns, the chairman of the Colchester United Supporters' Association for the last seven years, put forward the views of U's fans last night.

“We all feel sorry for Phil that he's missed out again, but it won't matter missing out on these monthly awards if he achieves the ultimate goal of promotion,” enthused Burns last night.

“We are on a tremendous run at the moment. I certainly can't remember anything like it.

“All the fans are excited about what the team has been achieving. It says a lot that we can go to the league leaders (Brentford) on New Year's Eve, and not only win 2-0 but also play them off the park.

“There is often rumoured to be a curse attached to the manager of the month winners. They often seem to lose their next match, so maybe it's just as well that Phil has not won again.

“We are looking unbeatable at the moment. We've already beaten Nottingham Forest this month, so maybe Phil might go on and win the January award anyway,” added Burns.

Despite these recent disappointments, Parkinson is no stranger to winning the manager of the month accolade. In fact, he won at the first time of asking in March, 2003 (he had been appointed at Layer Road the end of February), and again picked up the celebrated jeroboam of champagne in September of that year.

He should really have completed the hat-trick last November, having guided the U's to five wins out of five, only for the award to go to Penney at Doncaster.

Last month, the U's blotted their copy-book with a 1-0 defeat at Swindon Town on Boxing Day, although they won three and drew the other of their four league fixtures, as well as making further progress in the FA Cup and LDV Vans Trophy.

Parkinson himself was not too disappointed with this latest news.

“I'm not too bothered. What's more important are our long-term goals,” revealed Parkinson.

“Of course it would have been nice to have won the award, not just for me but all the staff and the players, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.”

David Gregory, whose penalty-spot winner against Torquay at Wembley in 1998 secured the U's promotion into Nationwide Division Two (their current level), is currently the Communications and PR Officer at Layer Road.

Gregory said last night: “I think it's a bit harsh on Phil (Parkinson) not to win the award again.

“It seemed as they took into account Doncaster's League Cup win over Aston Villa to give Dave Penney the award in November, but they certainly didn't take any notice of the cup matches this time.

“Oldham lost their FA Cup match against Brentford, while we won in both the FA Cup and LDV Vans Trophy.

“But I don't think any of us will have any complaints if Phil goes on to finish a runner-up in the manager of the month competition for the rest of the season, because that means we are sure to be promoted!” added Gregory.

Meanwhile, Oldham boss Moore put his award down to a change in luck. A run of three wins and two draws in December has lifted the Latics into eighth place, level on points with sixth-placed Barnsley. The U's are flying high in fourth spot.

“We've had a bit of luck that we've not had in the past,” admitted Moore.

“When you start winning it comes on a roll and the players have been magnificent. It's been a magnificent month, but we needed it. When you bring in 12 new players you're very lucky if you get them to gel at the same time.”

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