Nottingham Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi has been named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month for January.
Fitting recognition of the Reds’ efforts at the start of 2020.
Lamouchi’s men went unbeaten through the opening of a new decade.
A spark found on Boxing Day carried Forest through to February 1.
Across five games, 11 points were taken from the 15 on offer.
Reading, on two occasions, were the only foes to frustrate Forest.
With that record taken into account, it should come as no surprise to find Lamouchi topping the managerial pile.
He has edged out Lee Johnson, Michael O’Neill and Phillip Cocu to take the prize.
In a campaign which has seen Forest sail under the radar at times, their efforts have been noted once more.
And, quite weirdly, they probably wish they weren’t!
The fabled ‘curse’ of monthly gongs is part of football folklore.
History dictates that a rise to the top is often followed by a fall.
Forest have already seen their unbeaten run ended at Birmingham.
Next up is an eagerly-anticipated clash with Leeds, with a home date against Charlton sandwiched between a trip to another automatic promotion hopeful, West Brom.
There are then meetings with QPR and Cardiff to end the calendar month.
The last thing they need is for the curse to strike once more.
It did bite a bit earlier in the campaign when Lamouchi landed the same second tier prize for September.
Having been faultless through three games that month, a slight wobble was then endured.
Two points were dropped at Blackburn.
A battling victory at home to Brentford was then followed by back-to-back defeats against Wigan and Hull City after returning rusty from the international break.
Four points from a possible 12.
Not the kind of strike rate that the Reds need in the present.
The Reds showed in January what can be achieved when a little momentum is established.
A bump in the road was hit at St Andrew’s.
Lamouchi has, however, shown on two occasions now that he is very much part of the cream in the Championship coaching crop.
Inspiration is required from him as much as those out on the field.
He is fully aware of what is required, and what his remit is.
The Frenchman will also have been made aware that monthly awards are not always as pleasant as they seem.
Curses are, however, there to be broken and optimism at the City Ground remains high ahead of a visit from Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds on Saturday.