Smith, Ajayi win March awards
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith is the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for March
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for March.
A perfect month and a maximum 15 points from five games included wins over Derby, Nottingham Forest, and, of course, Birmingham.
Smith said: "I'm delighted to have been named Manager of the Month - it's a reward for all the staff here at Aston Villa. We've had a good month, and we now need to make sure we keep it going."
Rotherham United midfielder Semi Ajayi has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for March.
Ajayi's power and will to win were always suited to the transition from central defence to midfield. Less predictable were five goals in five games; three courtesy of prodigious leaps and flying headers, two immaculately timed low shots.
Rotherham midfielder Semi Ajayi is the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for March
Ajayi said: "It is a massive honour, and it is something I am really pleased to receive. I have to say though that the award is a team effort, I wouldn't be in the position to collect the award without my teammates.
"During the month, we performed well in a number of games, picking up some vital points. It was a good all-round team effort. I am also hugely grateful to the staff, who have been brilliant. It was a good month, and to be given the award ahead of some very stiff opposition is even more pleasing.
"The season is coming to a close now, but from a team perspective, we are still fighting hard to keep this club in the Championship, and from a personal point of view, this will also give me confidence going into the remaining games this season."
Sky Bet League One
Manager: Mick Harford, Luton Town
Luton boss Mick Harford is the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for March
Luton Town manager Mick Harford has been named the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month for March.
It is too simplistic to suggest that Harford has a team which runs itself as Luton continue to charge towards automatic promotion. Motivating his players to maintain their standards, he led them to a 14-point haul from six unbeaten matches.
Harford said: "It's an honour to accept the award on behalf of the football club, and that's what it is - it's for the football club. When I took the role, I wasn't in it for any self-gratification; it was a case of coming in to help the football club and try to put it in a better place. I think that we as a group have achieved that.
"Firstly, I'd like to thank the board for supporting myself and the staff. I'd like to thank my staff, who have been amazing and worked tirelessly over the last few months.
"But mainly, this award that I am accepting on behalf of the football club, is mostly down to the players. They have been absolutely amazing in the period that I've been in charge, so I'd like to give them a big thank you."
Player: Jonson Clarke-Harris, Bristol Rovers
Bristol Rovers striker Jonson Clarke-Harris is the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for March
Bristol Rovers striker Jonson Clarke-Harris has been named the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month for March.
Eight goals and an assist for Clarke-Harris in March - and what goals they were, with long-range screamers against Gillingham and Plymouth, a breathtaking solo effort against Luton, and a hat-trick against Blackpool. Speed, strength and good hold-up play added up to a stellar month.
Clarke-Harris said: "I'm enjoying my football. I've come here to score goals, help the lads out, and feel like I have done that."
Sky Bet League Two
Manager: Micky Mellon, Tranmere Rovers
Tranmere boss Micky Mellon is the Sky Bet League Two manager of the Month for March
Tranmere Rovers manager Micky Mellon has been named the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for March.
Mellon has timed his side's automatic promotion push to perfection. Five wins from five games, an 11-1 goal differential, and entertaining play aplenty has his players bursting with confidence and crowds flocking to Prenton Park.
Mellon said: "I always worry about the title of this award because it looks like it is solely just me. I really mean this, it is an entire group effort, including everyone at the club and the fans.
"We had a fantastic month, it is a whole group reward for a lot of work that went on in a difficult month (March), we got results from good performances. So, it is a great reward for everyone. Well done to all."
Player: Reece Brown, Forest Green
Forest Green midfielder Reece Brown is the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for March
Forest Green midfielder Reece Brown has been named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for March.
Brown is in the form of his life and determined to help Forest Green clinch a play-off berth. Given free rein to roam, he was directly involved in every one of their seven goals in March, scoring five himself, including a fine free-kick against Lincoln.
Brown said: "I'm happy to receive the award. I think I was nominated once earlier in the season and didn't quite get it done, I didn't score enough goals, but I am happy to get it now.
"I felt like each game we went into, I just went in thinking I could score again. Once you get one or two, you just get that little feeling. It was a good month, it was my birthday month as well, and this is the best present I could have got."
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This news item was provided by the SkySports | News website - the original link is: https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11688/11685133/aston-villa-boss-dean-smith-and-rotherham-midfielder-semi-ajayi-win-sky-bet-championship-march-awards