Walsall defender James Clarke has been named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month for September.
Central defenders aren’t supposed to score goals like his acrobatic late bicycle kick winner against Scunthorpe or his 30-yard thunderbolt at Crawley.
Clarke’s presence was also vital at the back as Walsall kept four clean sheets in five games.
Walsall manager Darrell Clarke said: “James is a fantastic professional and somebody who I have worked with for a number of years now.
“I always demand high standards from my players and he sets the perfect example. He doesn’t score goals like that, so for him to score them and for him to win the award is great for him.”
Clarke said: “I’m delighted to win the award. It’s the first time I’ve won something like this in my career and winning it means a lot.
“To pick up three wins and three clean sheets was a fantastic effort from the team and to add a couple of goals into that as well was the cherry on top of it all.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Most defenders would be happy to score one of Clarke’s September goals in their career, but to score two – and for them to be goals of such importance - is outstanding from the Walsall skipper.
“The 29-year-old only netted his first professional goal last year, but given a license to roam by Darrell Clarke, he’s rewarded his manager with six points already.”
Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies said: “James Clarke has never been anything like prolific -even for a centre back - but he scored two spectacular goals in September and was an important presence at the back for a Walsall team who put together a nice run of results, keeping four clean sheets in the process.
“The Saddlers will be looking up and not down now, as they try to work their way into the promotion picture. They are 8/1 to be promoted straight back to League One.”
The judging panel for the Sky Bet Player of the Month comprises Sky Sports’ EFL expert Don Goodman; EFL Communications Director Mark Rowan and Sky Bet EFL trader Ivor Davies