Joe crowned as manager of month

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle was today crowned Coca-Cola Championship Manager of the Month for November.The accolade comes after he steered Town to the top of the table to underline their automatic promotion credentials.

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle was today crowned Coca-Cola Championship Manager of the Month for November.

The accolade comes after he steered Town to the top of the table to underline their automatic promotion credentials.

Royle's men won four of their five league games in November, keeping clean sheets in three of them, and he was delighted when The Evening Star broke the news to him.

He said: “It is great news for the club and the team - it shows that people are recognising what we are doing here at Ipswich.

“There were four managers with similar records in the running for the award and I would like to think that the way we play tipped the scales in our favour.”

The other nominees were Mick McCarthy of Sunderland, who inflicted Town's only defeat, along with Steve Cotterill of Burnley and Dario Gradi of Crewe, whom Ipswich visit on Saturday.

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Sky Sports' Chris Kamara, chairman of the Coca-Cola Manager of the Month Awards panel, said: “Joe's done a fantastic job with Ipswich Town since he joined back in October 2002.

“With league finishes of seventh and fifth in the last two seasons, he will be looking to push for automatic promotion this time around and, so far, he's right on course.”

Kamara, in his role as Coca-Cola Ambassador, heads an awards panel that also includes former top referee Jack Taylor, who was in charge of the World Cup Final in 1974.

The award is likely to be presented to Royle before Ipswich's home clash with promotion rivals Wigan Athletic, which will be screened live by Sky Sports on Tuesday, December 21.

This is the second such award to come Royle's way in his time as Town boss. He also won it in October last year after an unbeaten month comprising five wins and a draw.

But Royle is only too well aware of the way teams whose managers scoop the award have a history of following up the news with a disappointing result.

Last year, for example, Ipswich started November with a home defeat by Gillingham and a draw at Derby before recovering to go on a five-game unbeaten run.

And after being named as top boss for October this year, Wigan's Paul Jewell saw his team toppled as Championship leaders after they took just five points from a possible 15 in November.

Royle laughed: “It is hard to argue with statistics, I suppose, but we will just carry on doing what we have been doing.

“To be honest, I hope there are many such awards to come because it will mean we are achieving something here at Ipswich.”

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