Leeds United head coach Steve Evans is looking to end a five-year wait at Elland Road after being shortlisted for the Championship’s manager-of-the-month award.
United’s six-game unbeaten run last month has put Evans in contention for a prize which only one Leeds boss has claimed before – Simon Grayson in 2010.
The club’s rise to second place in the Championship during Grayson’s second full season as manager earned him the monthly trophy but Evans is among a group of four coaches vying for the latest award.
Leeds took 12 points from six games in December, moving comfortably clear of the relegation zone and keeping themselves in outside contention for a play-off position.
Their unbeaten run began with a 2-1 victory at home to Hull City on December 5 and also included a first win away at Wolverhampton Wanderers since 1984.
Leeds rounded off the month with a narrow defeat of Preston North End and draws against Nottingham Forest and Derby County.
Middlesbrough’s Aitor Karanka, whose side head the table, Ipswich Town’s Mick McCarthy and Brentford’s Dean Smith are nominated alongside Evans for the December award.
Evans told the YEP: “The form’s an acknowledgement of the work that everyone’s putting in, not just me. That goes from the president (Massimo Cellino) down to the tea ladies.
“But it’s the players who get the results and they’ve been exceptional, not only in the way they’ve performed but in their attitude. Some have been out of the squad, some have come back in after a spell out, some have played games and then been out of the team again. They’ve all been totally professional about it.
“It shouldn’t be forgotten either that we went through a seriously tough schedule last month, as tough as any other club. But we’ve delivered.”
Evans, who is into his third month as head coach at Elland Road, has revived United’s campaign following the club’s slide to 18th in the Championship table at the end of November.
Saturday’s 1-1 draw with MK Dons was his 14th game in charge since he replaced Uwe Rosler on a deal to the end of the season in mid-October.
The former Rotherham United boss is the sixth manager or head coach employed by Leeds in Massimo Cellino’s 21-month spell as owner but Evans said: “I like the fact that I’m working with someone who can give me a yes-or-no answer without having to ask six other people first. I had the same at Rotherham.
“He’s in control, he runs the club, but we’ve built up a very strong, professional relationship and what I was told when I came in is how it’s been in reality.
“I can’t get involved in the bigger issues but I do think that certain coaches under Mr Cellino have allowed fans’ grievances to be factor in results or an excuse when things haven’t work out. I’ve just tried to concentrate on the grass.”