Aitor Karanka and Lee Tomlin win Sky Bet Championship awards

MANAGER OF THE MONTH: Aitor Karanka
MANAGER OF THE MONTH: Aitor Karanka

MIDDLESBROUGH will begin February with even more spring in their step after clinching a Sky Bet Championship awards double.

Head coach Aitor Karanka and forward talent Lee Tomlin were today named as manager and player of the month for January.

Brilliant Boro went through the opening four weeks of the year unbeaten with three league wins and a draw, plus FA Cup victories at Barnsley and Manchester City.

It was the third time lucky for Karanka, who had been shortlisted for the prize in September and December, only to lose out to Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe.

It was no surprise the Spaniard carried it off, beating Derby County’s ex-Boro boss Steve McClaren, Brentford’s Mark Warburton and Neil Readfearn, from Leeds United.

Boro conceded just one goal throughout the entire month and earned headlines around the world for their win at the Etihad.

Tomlin hit the headlines after the victory over the Premier League champions for a cheeky tweet, poking fun at Man City defender Vincent Kompany.

But he has also done his talking on the pitch – the 26-year-old was outstanding in that FA Cup shock while he has scored three goals in four league appearances last month.

Tomlin beat red-hot Watford striker Odion Ighalo, Leeds midfielder Luke Murphy and Wolves defender Richard Stearman to the trophy award.

Karanka said that the awards were a reflection of the squad’s success

“To be nominated with Tommo means they have recognised us as a team,” he said.

“The awards are for individuals but they are a very good thing for the club. I think it is an important award, of course.

“The main thing is we are in the position in the table that we are, we are showing everybody that we are a very consistent squad.

“It’s a very good thing for the squad and means we are doing things properly.”