Why Sunderland boss Lee Johnson has been named League One Manager of the Month over Wigan, Burton and Wycombe candidates
The Black Cats have won four of their first five league games to begin the 2021/22 campaign and sit top of the table ahead of this weekend’s game against Accrington Stanley.
Johnson won the award ahead of Burton boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth and Leam Richardson of Wigan who were also nominated.
Sunderland beat Wigan, Wimbledon and Wycombe at the Stadium of Light in August, while claiming a 2-1 win at MK Dons.
The side’s only defeat came at Burton, when the Black Cats were beaten 1-0 despite creating enough chances to win the match.
Despite the side’s strong start to the season, no Sunderland players were nominated for the Player of the Month award, which was won by Morecambe striker Cole Stockton.
Stockton has scored four league goals in five appearances so far this campaign.
After the winners were announced, Johnson said: “This is presented as an individual award, but there is no doubt that it is for the collective.
“It has been a really nice month for us, but it is only been achievable by top attitudes displayed throughout the club.
“There are so many people that work extremely hard for that carrot at the end of the week and sometimes they don’t get the credit for that, so it’s a nice award for us a wider club.
“Now, we want to make sure we stay in the hunt for these awards month on month because that means that the team is being successful and the wider club is enabling the team to be at its best.”
When explaining the award winners Danny Wilson, who chairs the Sky Bet Manager of the Month judging panel, said: “With a very high expectation from the fans, it has been a strong start from Lee’s team.
“Extra pressure comes with Sunderland’s huge fanbase, but they have responded very well with four wins out of five.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman added: “Will Lee Johnson be the man that finally turns the tide for this sleeping giant?
“His side have started the season in fine form, only dropping points against Burton and winning three of five tough-looking leagues games by a single goal.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “Lee Johnson’s Sunderland are one of several sleeping giants in League One and this is their fourth season in English football’s third tier and like the previous three they were once again installed by the bookies as preseason favourites, this time at 6/1 to win the title and 9/4 to be promoted.
“In the first month of the season, Johnson oversaw a great reaction to his team’s Play-Off disappointment at the end of last season and after their excellent start, Sunderland’s price to win the league has now more than halved into 11/4 with them into even money to finally be promoted back to the Championship.”
Sunderland will return to action against second-placed Accrington Stanley at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon.