Dario Gradi Is January's Manager of the Month
Dario has scooped the npower Manager of the Month award for January 2011. The Alex boss guided the Railwaymen to five wins in seven January games, rising from ninth to third in the league table and putting out a serious case for a promotion push.
The wins didn't come easy neither. A 2-0 home win against Northampton set off a fantastic month as the Alex saw off promotion rivals Shrewsbury and Wycombe with a 1-0 win and 3-0 win respectively, marking three clean sheets on the trot.
There were slight blips as the long trip got the better of us in a 2-1 defeat at Torquay whilst a injury time free kick gave Aldershot the points in a 3-2 win at the Recreation Ground.
Thankfully, sandwiching those results were the derby day win over Port Vale and the battling performance to beat Bradford 2-1 at Gresty Road, despite having to play the second half with 10 men following Donaldson's red.
Dario saw off competition for the award from the likes of Chesterfield's John Sheridan and Wycombe's Gary Waddock, and picks up his first monthly gong in eight years. The last time he was presented with a Manager of the Month trophy, in January 2003, the Alex went on to secure promotion back into the Championship. A similar ending to this season would be welcome.
February though hasn't been the greatest thus far. The less said about the previous two results the better but this weekend's home match against 6th placed Gillingham is suddenly extremely important.
Gillingham arrive after a surge up the table since we ran out comfortable 3-1 winners at the Priestfield in November. They've lost just one of their 14 games since that day with on loan striker Cody McDonald to thank.
McDonald has struck nine goals since the turn of the year and today scooped the Player of the Month award for January, beating our own Clayton Donaldson to the prize.