brighton logo Player of the Month - January 2017

January ended once again with Brighton and Hove Albion top of the Championship table, although it wasn't an as easy month as that makes things appear. But hey, the sign of a good team is winning when you aren't playing well and that is exactly what Chris Hughton's side did.

A woeful display away at Fulham ended in a 2-1 victory thanks to two goals in the only good 90 seconds we had all day. That was largely thanks to a brilliant penalty stop from David Stockdale and he repeated the trick two league games later when Sheffield Wednesday were seen off - all of which must make him not favourite to win our Player of the Month award for the second month in succession.

There was a rare defeat away at Preston North End thrown between those two while a typically stubborn Neil Warnock side were seen off as Cardiff City were eventually vanquished 1-0. Disappointingly our FA Cup adventure came to an end with a 3-1 defeat for the stiffs away at Conference leaders Lincoln City in the fourth round, having seen off McDons 2-0 in round three at the start of the month.

January 2017 Player of the Month -  David Stockdale (89.85% of the vote)
Outside of a North Korean election, this has to be the least shocking result of a vote ever. David Stockdale was phenomenal throughout January and that is reflected in the fact that he wins with the biggest share of the vote of any of Player of the Month polls since they began five years ago. He produced two penalty saves away at Fulham and at home to Sheffield Wednesday - both games that would not have been won without him. And it wasn't just his heroics from six yards either as he produced a string of fine saves in another win that could've ended very differently at home to Cardiff.
Played 4 (4 starts). Scored 0.
Second: Shane Duffy (4.95% of the vote)
The Irish centre back made the top three for the second month in succession, going one better than his third place finish in December. Highlights included a faultless performance away at Fulham and a quite outrageous block late on to help secure the three points against Cardiff.
Third: Anthony Knockaert (2.72% of the vote)
It seemed like another quiet month for the winger. And when we say quiet, we mean he 'only' scored twice against Sheffield Wednesday and set both goals up away at Fulham. That was enough to fire him to third place with less than 3% of the vote.

The contenders:
Shane Duffy - The defence had to be at their best to repel a lot of pressure away at Fulham and he certainly played his part in that. Had a particularly big game against Cardiff where one outrageous block towards the end helped secure the victory.
Lewis Dunk - Showed his worth at both ends of the pitch, popping up for what proved to be the winner away at Fulham. He then cheekily got himself booked to ensure he missed the MK Dons FA Cup game although he was also absent for the Preston defeat as a result.
Tomer Hemed - It's been  a frustrating season for the Israeli international who has largely had to make do with a spot on the bench. But he grasped his opportunities when they came along in January, scoring against Fulham, McDons and Cardiff.
Anthony Knockaert - It was a quiet month by the Frenchman's ridiculously high standards, yet it says everything about him that in a quite month he still managed to be the architect of the comeback against Fulham and score both goals in the Sheffield Wednesday victory.
Sebastien Pocognoli - We hadn't seen much of the on-loan Belgian left back so far this season until January when he finally became a regular in the side. A real threat attacking from left back, his ball in to set up the winner against Wednesday was a thing of real beauty.
David Stockdale - We try not to influence peoples votes on these things, but if this man doesn't win it will be a travesty. Penalty saves against Fulham and Wednesday turned what two points into six and he also kept Cardiff at bay in the first half of that win.