Middlesbrough's Aitor Karanka and Adam Clayton scoop Championship awards

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka
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Middlesbrough's Aitor Karanka and midfield ace Adam Clayton have been rewarded with the Championship's manager and player of the month awards.

It is the third time that Karanka has received the honour, having previously been named Manager of the Month in January and September 2015.

The Spaniard masterminded an unbeaten run in the league throughout December, picking up crucial wins over promotion rivals Burnley and Brighton to send Boro top of the league table.

"It's a lovely honour to have but I think this a reflection of how well our team is playing at the moment," said Karanka.

"It's an award for everyone here at Middlesbrough, including all the players and coaching staff, and we are very pleased to receive it."

Karanka has heaped praise on his midfielder, saying he is fully deserving of the prize.

The club's head coach added: "The best example is that Adam Clayton has been named as Player of the Month as well, and he’s part of a team that has worked very hard to reach our current position in the table.

"I am really pleased for Adam because he is a player who does not get in the headlines but plays such an important role for our team.

"Adam isn’t singled out for praise when our defence is staying tight or when the strikers are scoring goals, but he makes a big contribution to how we play our games. He richly deserves this honour."

Clayton started every game for Boro during December.

A delighted Clayton added: "I'm absolutely thrilled to receive this award.

"I'm buzzing about it because this is a great league with some very good players.

"We didn’t concede a league goal in December so, to be honest, any member of our back five could have won this award.

"It shows how well the whole team are playing and I’d like to think this is an award for all of us."