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Derby County duo Steve McClaren and Craig Bryson in line to be rewarded for ace month

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 09, 2014

Derby v Huddersfield. 26/12/2013. Craig Bryson wheels away in celebration after scoring the game's first goal.

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DERBY County are in contention to land two awards for their near-perfect December.

Unsurprisingly, head coach Steve McClaren is up for Sky Bet Championship manager of the month after leading the Rams to six wins and a draw, in which they scored an impressive 18 goals while conceding six.

And the excellent form of midfielder Craig Bryson has also been recognised with a Championship player of the month nomination.

Bryson is up against Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater, on-loan Sheffield Wednesday striker Connor Wickham and Burnley full-back Kieran Trippier.

McClaren faces competition from Nottingham Forest boss Billy Davies, Ipswich Town chief Mick McCarthy and Lee Clark of Birmingham City.

The winners will be announced tomorrow, with Burton Albion manager Gary Rowett nominated for the League Two award and former Rams boss Nigel Clough, now in charge of Sheffield United, up for the League One prize.

Derby began December with a fine 3-1 victory away to FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic - set up by a scintillating first-half display.

This was followed by a 2-1 midweek home success against Middlesbrough, with substitute Conor Sammon netting a late winner.

McClaren’s men trailed at half-time to Blackpool in the next game but five unanswered second-half goals saw the rampant hosts truimph 5-1 in the end.

The Rams then battled to a 2-0 victory away to Charlton Athletic and backed up that result by beating Doncaster Rovers 3-1 at the iPro Stadium.

The only points Derby dropped during the month came at Huddersfield on Boxing Day.

They were closing in on an eighth successive win until Martin Paterson’s deflected effort earned the Terriers a 1-1 draw.

The Rams brushed off this “setback” and three days later, ended the year with a 2-1 victory away to Barnsley, which lifted them, albeit briefly, into an automatic promotion spot.

Bryson was key to Derby’s December success - starting all seven games and scoring five goals.

The Scottish international’s fine free kick got the ball rolling at Wigan and he was also on target in four successive games - against Blackpool, Charlton, Doncaster and Huddersfield.

Bryson missed the FA Cup third round tie against Chelsea with a groin strain he suffered during the 1-0 home defeat to Wigan Athletic on New Year’s Day but is battling to be fit to return for tomorrow’s trip to league leaders Leicester, kick-off 7.45pm.

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