As the football season is starting to draw to a close, football fans start debating end of season awards.
With some surprise packages and teams doing better than expected, there will be a lot of competition for this season’s manager of the year award in the Championship.
A lot of the plaudits will go to Rafa Benitez and Chris Hughton and rightly so, as both their sides are the current top two.
Jaap Stam, David Wagner and Garry Monk have also done fantastic jobs guiding their respective sides into the play-offs with not managing at this level before.
However, I would like to put forward a case for a less obvious choice, Nigel Clough.
Burton may not be playing the most entertaining brand of football or challenging near the top, but in my opinion he’s pulling off the biggest achievement by keeping Burton Albion in the division.
Firstly, I don’t think even the most optimistic of fans would have expected Burton to stay up this season, so keeping a club in this division that have never competed at this level is a phenomenal achievement.
With nine games still to go nothing is certain yet, but Burton who are unbeaten in their six matches look like they will survive.
Secondly, Clough has used both transfer windows brilliantly, with a limited budget.
The Burton boss has had to mostly bring in free agents and loan signings.
One of them loan signings being Cauley Woodrow has been influential since arriving in January, scoring the winner against Forest at the weekend.
Clough has also brought in valuable experience at this level including Lloyd Dyer and Michael Kightly.
These two players found chances limited in the Premier League but at this level can play important roles in a team’s success.
Jackson Irvine maybe the most influential of these signings, brought from Ross County last summer, he has attracted attention from a host of clubs, looking for his signature.
All these signings have played a pivotal role in Burton’s challenge for survival and that is down to the clever business done by Clough in the transfer windows.
Finally, since Clough confirmed he would be staying at Burton rather than joining Nottingham Forest, Burton have rewarded their manager with that loyalty.
Although Forest is club he holds close to his heart ,he recognised that the time was not right and that is refreshing to see.
Burton Albion fans, thoughts? Comment below!