The Return of Callum Wilson
For many, the loss of Leon Clarke to the team seemed like it would have an adverse impact on Callum Wilson during his breakthrough season. Countless times in the opening months of the campaign Wilson was set free by Leon Clarke dropping deep and sending a pin-point pass in behind the opposition defence. Without a direct replacement for Leon Clarke identified it was felt that it would be easier for opposing defences to concentrate on dropping deep and/or marking Wilson out of the game. Wilson’s two month absence with injury meant that we had to wait until this month to find out if he was the real deal. Well, Wilson proved it in spades and is perhaps a better all-round striker since recovering from his lay-off. Wilson has now scored 7 in the 8 games since returning to the starting line-up and has been instrumental in not only finding the net but leading the team on with his energy and desire to press the opposition. Typically this return to form now means that Coventry fans are worrying about the prospect of losing our star striker in the summer, I say that even if he does go just enjoy the excitement he brings to the team.
Joe Murphy’s Wonder-saves
A key factor in securing many of our wins over the past month has been one, or more often several, key saves made by Joe Murphy in goal. For the longest time the former Scunthorpe man has had to live with comparisons to the man he replaced in Keiren Westwood. Since relegation to the third tier though these comparisons have been positive, repeating the view that we’re lucky to have such an experienced and talented keeper at our level. For many fans though the joy of seeing Murphy pull off yet another wonder-save has been tinged with the prospect of once again losing a match-winning keeper in the summer for nothing. It would seem ludicrous to doubt that Murphy isn’t deserving of a new contract but the reality is that we may struggle to meet his wage demands, having signed his previous contract during our stay in the Championship. Once again though it should be a case of enjoying having such a talented goalkeeper to depend upon in the here and now.
Our past two wins, which have taken us onto the verge of securing our league status, have both been secured against the run of play. Against Stevenage it was a case of the team with 2 chances winning over the side that had 4 or 5, against Crewe that ratio was imbalanced in the opposition’s favour. However given the nature of some of our defeats over recent weeks, it was good to finally see the team do what was necessary to win rather than gift the opposition an endless amount of chances to put the game beyond us. To me this speaks volumes of Steven Pressley’s managerial nous, whilst for the most part this season we have seen him talk endlessly about playing in the ‘right way’ he has been able to secure the results that matter by varying our approach up. Whilst many Coventry City fans seem to believe that Pressley has never managed a side before, the past two wins are the mark of a manager with experience and know-how which should see us do better than mid-table obscurity for next season.
The Right Loanees?
Just one week ago Steven Pressley was decrying the effort and determination of his loan players following a capitulation of a 1 goal lead against Brentford. Right now we’re reflecting on the positive impact that a new batch of loan players have had on restoring the team’s confidence. The first arrival was of Anton Robinson followed by Nathan Eccleston just hours before Wednesday night’s kick-off against Stevenage. Both had the feeling of players on a downward trajectory in their careers with many Coventry fans thoroughly nonplussed about their arrival. Yet the two both acquitted themselves well in the 1-0 victory, Robinson from the start providing some true box-to-box play that has been lacking from our central midfielders and Eccleston coming off the bench, adding some energy and pace to the side and whose shot was handled for what came to be a missed penalty in the closing minutes of the game. On Thursday the experienced David Prutton was added to the side and added some bloody-minded determination and some uncompromising tackles that really shook a young Crewe side. Whilst it’s too early to fully judge our new loan players, it’s so far, so good.
The Sixfields Whistler
Recent ‘home’ games at Sixfields have been somewhat marred by the annoying addition of a fan with a whistle somewhere in or around the stadium. Whilst the BBC Coventry & Warwickshire team have been insistent that the whistling has come from the nearby athletics stadium, it’s obvious to anyone who’s been to watch a game there that this isn’t the case. Not only has the athletics stadium been completely empty during many Coventry games but it’s easy to tell just from the direction of the sound that it has to have come from someone either in the stands or on the hill. The idea that this is someone’s protest against the Sixfields situation is what I find most annoying. I can understand the need for protest and I would take part in any organised protest from within Sixfields but this attempt just highlights some of the worst of the ‘Not One Penny More’ campaigners. Whilst there haven’t seemed to be any detrimental impact on the team thus far it feels that this whistler is attempting to harm the team’s performance in order to make a point. It’s clear that they are in the tiny minority, of probably just themselves, but this person needs to either stop or be banned from being in the vicinity of the stadium sometime very soon.