Middlesbrough have scooped both the manager and player of month awards in the Championship for December with Chris Wilder and Isaiah Jones victorious.
Wilder made his return to management with Boro in November after a fabulous run with his hometown club Sheffield United ended back in March. He picked up his first win with Boro at the end of November which set up a December comprising four wins and a draw, with Boro being able to fulfill all their fixtures in a particularly testing month.
A double win for #Boro
— Middlesbrough FC (@Boro) January 7, 2022
In his trademark 3-5-2 shape, Wilder’s side kept consecutive clean sheets in each of their first four games, also dramatically snatching their final win of the month at Blackpool deep into stoppage time with their opponents having equalised just two minutes earlier.
Wilder’s stiffest competition for the award was Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray, who had a higher points-per-game average with Rovers but a lower total having played one game fewer.
The other two nominees were Carlos Corebran, whose undefeated Huddersfield entered the play-off spots, and Derby’s Wayne Rooney, who continues to lead a spirited charge in dreadful circumstances at the foot of the table.
Isaiah Jones flourishing at wing-back
The player of the month award also went to a Middlesbrough player, with Isaiah Jones winning. It’s been an excellent breakthrough season for Jones who caught the eye on the opening weekend of the campaign arriving into the game at Fulham as a late substitute and setting up the equalising goal as Boro secured a point.
Jones spent the early part of the season in and out of the side and playing down the left before being switched over to the right when existing wing-back Anfernee Dijksteel was moved inside to centre-back by previous boss Neil Warnock.
At right wing-back Jones has been excellent and started the last ten matches; Wilder arrived as boss during that run and saw no reason to tweak the role. During December Jones scored the winning goal against Swansea, exposing their high full-backs and running in from virtually halfway to finish. He came up against the excellent Bournemouth left side of Jordan Zemura and Jaidon Anthony with the League leaders defeated and unable to score. And he registered two assists using his pace and directness in the dramatic win at Blackpool.
A top class performance from Isaiah Jones today, he’s only going to get better #Boro
— TheTeessiders (@TheTeessiders) December 18, 2021
Jones saw off competition from Blackburn’s John Buckley, Huddersfield’s Harry Toffolo and Sheffield United’s Morgan Gibbs-White to take the award.
Middlesbrough sit in seventh position, one point off the play-off spots, and given the disrupted nature of the recent schedule will be pleased with the number of games they’ve completed, along with their excellent points output. The impact made by Chris Wilder, good form of the likes of Isaiah Jones, and active stance in the January transfer window suggests a very viable promotion challenge during the remainder of the season.
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