MARK Hughes has paid tribute to his staff and players after scooping the first manager of the month award of his professional career.

Having guided Blackburn to their best start since the title-winning season of 1994/95, Hughes was yesterday named the Barclays Premier League manager of the month for October.

Rovers boasted a 100 per cent record last month, winning all five of their games, in three different competitions.

A 2-1 home victory over the Greek side Larissa in the UEFA Cup on October 4 was followed by a hat-trick of wins against Tottenham, Reading and Birmingham in the Premier League.

Then, to complete an excellent month, Rovers won 2-1 away at Portsmouth on Hallowe'en to earn a place in the quarter finals of the Carling Cup.

A delighted Hughes, who takes his in-form side to Old Trafford to face Manchester United tomorrow, said: "I'm pleased about it because it clearly recognises the work we've done, both through the staff here and the magnificent efforts of the players.

"Our only negative so far has been the European exit but when you suffer a disappointment like that you have to bounce back, and that's what we've done."

Rovers have only suffered two defeats since they lost to Chelsea in the semi-finals of the FA Cup in April - a remarkable sequence spanning 25 matches.

On top of that, Hughes' side are unbeaten in eight games in all competitions and, even more impressively, the last time they lost an away game in the Premier League was, coincidentally, against United at Old Trafford on March 31.

Hughes is the first Blackburn boss to win the award since Brian Kidd in 1998.

The decision was made by the Barclays Awards Panel, which includes representatives from football's governing bodies, the media and fans.