BLACKBURN Rovers star Tom Cairney has missed out on the Championship player of the month award for August.
The versatile midfielder was up against Nottingham Forest winger Michail Antonio, Millwall centre back Alan Dunne and Charlton Athletic striker Igor Vetokele.
But despite a strong start to the campaign Cairney was beaten to the prize by Angola hitman Vetokele after he scored five goals in as many league matches following his summer switch from FC Copenhagen.
Cairney was named as Rovers’ player of the year in May after a superb first season at Ewood Park.
And the 23-year-old has certainly picked up from where he left off.
In the first five games of the Championship campaign Cairney has two scored goal of the season contenders, at home to Cardiff City and away to Norwich City, made one assist and had a hand in two more.
He has also made more tackles per match – 3.6, from a total of 18 – and created more goalscoring opportunities per match – 2.4, from a total of 12 – than any other Rovers player.
And he has done all that while playing in three different positions.
His stunning strikes against Cardiff and Norwich came when starting out on the right.
He operated from the middle of the park against Bournemouth and Blackpool and, after Rudy Gestede was ruled out through injury, in the No 10 role behind lone striker Jordan Rhodes against Wolves last Saturday.
It is a role which Rovers boss Gary Bowyer believes Cairney is equally at home at.
“It’s a topical conversation but what we do know is that wherever we ask Tom to play he always does his best,” said Bowyer, speaking late last month when questioned over what he believes Cairney’s best position to be.
“I think sometimes in that right-hand side role – it’s not a wide position – he’s very difficult to pick up as his two goals have proved this season.
“Sometimes when you play one-on-one in the centre it’s easier to cancel somebody out because you can go and stand right up against them.
“Tom could become a fantastic No 10 as well and that’s something we’ve looked at.
“We put him up there in the second half against Norwich and he did ever so well in that position at Burnley away last season.
“He’s a goal threat and it’s about us finding the position in which he is most creative.
“But we’re delighted with the progress he’s making in terms of a goal contribution.”
Wolves’ Kenny Jackett, whose promoted side beat Rovers 3-1 last Saturday, has been named the Championship’s manager of the month for August.