Ipswich Town: Kieran McKenna is expected to edge out rivals from Manchester City, Arsenal, and Aston Villa for the top award…

Don Goodman asserts that Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna is worthy of winning the esteemed Manager of the Year accolade due to his commendable efforts at Portman Road this season.

The Northern Irishman was appointed as Tractor Boys chief in December 2021, in what was his first managerial role, having previously worked as a coach at Man Utd.

Nevertheless, he transitioned smoothly into the role of the primary figure, swiftly leaving his imprint in League One with Ipswich. In his inaugural full season, the Suffolk team secured promotion back to the Championship, and remarkably, they have now achieved consecutive promotions this season.

In spite of facing clubs with much greater resources, like Leeds United and Southampton, they successfully held off their competitors to secure the second spot, ensuring their comeback to the Premier League. Adding to their achievement, they amassed an impressive 96 points, a notable feat in this league, showcasing Ipswich’s resilience as Leeds faltered towards the end of the season.

Given his remarkable accomplishments, it came as no surprise when McKenna was honored as the Championship Manager of the Year at last month’s awards ceremony in London. However, another prestigious accolade, the LMA Manager of the Year, is yet to be announced later this month, encompassing managers from all divisions.

McKenna is poised to contend with some top-tier managers for this award, including the likes of Mikel Arteta or Pep Guardiola, depending on the Premier League winner, while Unai Emery merits recognition for his exceptional stewardship of Aston Villa, positioning them for Champions League qualification.

It’s hard to disagree with Goodman here, and you only have to look at the fact that no club has recorded successive promotions to the Premier League in over a decade to see how hard it is.

Crucially, as he points out, this was one of the most competitive Championship seasons ever, so to hit 96 points with a squad that largely came from League One is tremendous.

McKenna’s work at Portman Road has already put him on the radar of other clubs, but he will no doubt be continuing his journey with Ipswich now they are in the Premier League, and it will be intriguing to see if he can perform more miracles against the best on the planet.

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