For me Teemu Pukki is a ‘shoe in’ for the EFL Player of the Year. He is up against superb competition with the other two nominations namely Che Adams of Birmingham and Billy Sharp of Sheffield United. Billy Sharp has just reached the milestone of scoring the most goals in Championship history, however Teemu has shone for both club and country this season and has the better statistics.
His overall return for the 2018/9 season so far is 28 goals and nine assists. In addition to this, his work rate is class leading together with an uncanny vision to pick out players around him.
This was typified with the back heal and pinpoint cross for Finland’s second goal against Armenia this week. He has been a revelation for City this season and will hopefully break his five game dry patch with goals against Middlesbrough this weekend.
Chris Wilder deserves to have the Manger of the Month award for February. Both him and Daniel Farke have collected four wins, the difference being the Blades draw with Villa having been three up with minutes left and City losing to Preston away, having produced 22 efforts to score.
What is really impressive about Chris Wilder is the seven game run of not conceding a single goal, a fantastic achievement at any level.
Daniel Farke did pick up the award in November however the main prize which matters will be Championship Manger of the Season and one which will be thoroughly deserved if the Canaries can keep on the current course and finish as Champions.
Since his move from York, Ben Godfrey initially made steady progress with the Under 23’s and got superb reviews and experience at Shrewsbury as a holding midfielder. The League One exposure of disappointment in the Play Off Final defeat will have been character building and must have made him stronger.
His goal against the League One Play Off winners Rotherham United must have tasted sweet. He has grabbed his chance at centre back and I am so impressed with Daniel Farke in firstly having the confidence to play him and then allowing Godfrey to retain his shirt following the return to fitness of Grant Hanley and Timm Klose.
Based on the rumours of interest from the big six Premiership clubs in Godfrey, my feeling is that £10 million is way too low for his services. Whether he stays or departs, which will be initially dependant upon promotion I guess, I have faith in the management to make the right decision for Ben and the club.
I am not expecting too much residence from Middlesbrough. Whilst Norwich City have won six on the trot scoring 16 goals, Boro sit 13th in the form table with two wins, one draw and three defeats - the last three outings producing loses to Brentford, Preston and Villa. Their six games have produced only five goals.
I am hoping the international break will have not done them any favours to regroup and break Norwich’s impressive run.
Middlesbrough fans are not currently in a positive place. The football under Tony Pulis is not good on the eye and they have serious competition from Derby, Preston and Villa as they cling onto the last Play Off position.
The pressure from the home fans will be felt from the outset, especially if they go 1-0 down early doors. My prediction is for Norwich City to march on… Middlesbrough 1, Norwich 3.