Rafa Benitez came out on top against David Wagner when it mattered on Saturday but the tables have been turned this time.
Both are up for the title of Championship Manager of the Month for February but the smart money is all on the Huddersfield boss.
Newcastle haven’t been beaten since 2 January and are on an 11 league game unbeaten run.
However, in the snapshot which is February, Rafa picked up four wins and three draws – very good form but not quite at the level that Wagner’s Huddersfield were at.
Newcastle picked up 15 points from 21 but Huddersfield banked 16 from 18, which included wins over three of the top five – Brighton, Leeds and Reading.
Rafa’s month included a win over Brighton but the one at Huddersfield came four days into March.
Maybe this will be one award Rafa doesn’t pick up but I can’t see him being too upset when sitting three points ahead of Brighton and nine in front of Huddersfield (who have a game in hand) with 10 matches to go, plus a superior goal difference.
Official EFL Announcement:
‘The nominations for the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month award for February 2017.
Rafa Benitez (Newcastle United)
As well as his side’s impressive passing style, it is the Spaniard’s calm demeanour and understanding of the Championship’s challenge which inspired their return to the top, collecting 15 points from seven unbeaten games.
Simon Grayson (Preston North End)
An unbeaten month for his team as they closed in on the Play-Off places with three wins and two draws from five games. His understated management continues to belie the fluency of his side, particularly at their Deepdale home.
Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham)
Has added substance to the attacking style of his side this season. Always pleasing on the eye, Fulham scored at least two goals in all but one of their February fixtures as they earned 13 points from six games to climb to seventh place.
David Wagner (Huddersfield Town)
Wagner stayed true to his principles during a blip around the turn of the year and drew his reward in February, with his side collecting 16 points from six games and earning deserved home wins over promotion rivals Brighton, Leeds and Reading.
Winner will be announced on Friday.’