5 Things We Learned In March

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.

Winning Ugly

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.

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5 Things We Learned In February

Adjusting To Life After Leon Clarke

Since the departure of Leon Clarke on the 30th of January, the club has signed 6 players in an attempt to address his absence. Thus far Nathan Delfouneso has looked average in patches, picking up an injury after his second game. Rory Donnelly came and decided he couldn’t be bothered to play competitive football. Chuba Akpom looked decent against Carlisle but ultimately failed to make any sort of telling impact on the game. Petrasso, Marshall and McGeouch are all wide players who have looked decent thus far. Overall it’s clear that performances have dropped since Leon Clarke’s exit from the club, it might not just be the issue of his on-field impact but also the influence he has psychologically on his team-mates. Clarke’s post-match interview on the Boxing Day win over Peterborough showed him to be the determined to win senior figure that Coventry have often lacked. Without Clarke in the team it has felt thus far that players have been unable to lift their game at key moments, which to me suggests that they are lacking leadership and/or the kick up the backside that’s sometimes required of players still learning their trade in the game.

The Play-Off Dream Is Over For Another Season

Mathematically we’re still in with a shout of the play-offs. However the chasm currently stands at 15 points and with 7 teams separating us and Peterborough in 6th position. With teams above us in far better form than we’re currently in, the most likely scenario is of the points gap increasing between us and the play-offs rather than reversing. Once again we’re stuck in that repeated scenario we’ve found ourselves in since being relegated from the Premier League, with any chance of promotion already ruled out before Spring has started.

The Season Is Far From Finished

Typically Coventry have reacted to their play-off hopes fading by putting in apathetic and sub-standard performances until the end of the season, or until the danger of relegation looms large. Whilst we can still say that we’re above the relegation battlers at this moment in time, failing to win any of our next 2 or 3 matches will put us right amongst the pack. Whilst there have been mitigating circumstances such as a ludicrous run of bad luck in attempting to recruit new strikers, the performance levels in February have been shockingly poor overall. March will be the month to prove that our performances at the start of the season weren’t lucky or as a result of being underestimated. It’s time for the players to stand up and be counted.

Our Standing Has Declined In The World Of Football

We found ourselves in an absurd scenario last week with our recent loan signing Chuba Akpom being recalled by Arsenal to play in youth-team football. Like many other Coventry City fans this felt like the ultimate insult, that our level of football was deemed less important than a Premier League side’s youth cup fixtures. We were left with no recognised strikers to play against Tranmere the subsequent Saturday, a game where we struggled for penetration in attack. It was a reminder once again that the club is even more insignificant to the world of football than even most pessimistic City fans originally thought.

 

Have SISU Learned Some Important Lessons?

Finally, although there have been one or two points that haven’t made the cut this month, we were greeted by the news on Friday afternoon that the club had finally filed their accounts on time. For most football fans this news that their club has filed its accounts would barely raise an eyebrow in interest. For Coventry City the issue has become increasingly one to beat SISU with. The past 3 seasons has seen the club left in limbo between March and July, with a transfer embargo seeing us gazumped regularly in the transfer market in those key early months. Hopefully the news will see Pressley being able to move swiftly with his summer transfer activity and integrate new players before the season starts. There are many other key questions that SISU have left unanswered thus far but finally filing the club’s accounts on time shows that they are perhaps acting in way that they see benefits the Coventry City.

5 Things We Learned In January

Leon’s Lack of Loyalty

The main lesson that we learned from January was that Leon Clarke wasn’t as committed to the cause as we were led to believe. Yet again we find out that our best player is willing to leave the club at the first available opportunity. There were two elements of the transfer saga that made his defection particularly galling. First of all was the fact that Leon Clarke deliberately missed games to try and force through a transfer, yet showed up for the Arsenal match in front of a nationwide audience. This just felt like an act of selfishness towards both his team-mates and also an attempt to reduce the transfer fee that the club was holding out for. The second frustrating element was that Leon Clarke was so clearly despised by Wolves fans, if you are going to sell your best player you at least want it to get the fans of the buying club excited. The whole affair just felt like being mugged and then having your muggers laugh at your model of phone.

Our Thin Squad Bites Again

Leon Clarke’s absence from the Crawley and Leyton Orient fixtures felt doubly worse due to the players that had to play in his stead. For Crawley our right-back-come-centre-back Jordan Clarke was played as a makeshift centre-forward and played okay for a right-back-come-centre-back playing as a centre-forward. For Leyton Orient we were left to play the 16-year-old George Thomas in attack, who was then substituted for the aforementioned Jordan Clarke in a dire 2-0 defeat. Once again we were provided with clear evidence that we’re a team that only functions with its 11 best players playing in their correct positions. The now permanent loss of Leon Clarke leaves us in a precarious position for the rest of the season.

Arsenal Are Pretty Good

Confirmation, if it was needed, came that Arsenal are significantly better at football than Coventry City. Largely playing in first gear, the Gunners scored 2 goals in both halves to end our hopes of an extended FA Cup run for another season. Despite fashioning a couple of decent opportunities in the second half we seemed to lack the belief that we could pull off an upset against Premier League opposition. The only consolation was that we pretty much knew that already.

Moussa’s Always Capable of a Wondergoal

Against Preston North End we were a goal down once again due to an inability to defend crosses. Thanks to a Kevin Davies sending off we found ourselves in the ascendancy against a physical Preston side, however we were lacking penetration and creativity in the final third. Yet it wasn’t in the least bit surprising to hear via various sources of Franck Moussa’s wondergoal at the very death. If ever there was a player to try and pull off the impossible it’s Franck Moussa. He can be a deeply frustrating player to watch week-in-week-out but those moments of magic are so far beyond what we’re used to seeing as Coventry fans that it makes up for all those faults.

More Loan Signings

On the 30th January we moved to sign three players on loan, Nathan Delfouneso from Vile, Dylan McGeouch from Celtic and Rory Donnelly from Swansea. Whilst loan signings allow the club to reduce the risk of having another Kevin Malaga or Mathieu Manset on their books it also reduces the potential rewards. Take Nathan Delfouneso for example, if he plays well and find his form then he’ll probably end up at a Championship club when his contract expires in the summer and we’re back at square one. If he plays badly then our season flags, we part ways and we’re back at square one. The reward is that we’re potentially getting players to reinvigorate our season at a fraction of the cost. However none of these 3 signings will go anywhere near to replacing Leon Clarke on a long-term basis, our play-off hopes are now in the territory of having to go on a long winning streak, even if they all come good, the chances are that they won’t be here next season and we’re left to try and scramble a squad together with a limited budget.

5 Things We Learned In December

Leon Clarke Is The Best Striker In League One

Leon Clarke finishes his first 12 months at Coventry with 23 goals in 34 games. He also ends the calendar year as the top scorer in the division this season with 15 goals. His importance to the team was highlighted in his absence at the beginning of the month and then his return at the end with 4 goals in 4 appearances as the team advanced to the third round of the FA Cup and beat one of the league’s best sides on Boxing Day. More than his goals though is his link-up play and leadership. The pass for Franck Moussa’s goal to take the lead against Peterborough was pure quality and displayed a calmness and assurance that belied the ragged nature of the game that it was being played in. His comments after the game about certain players needing to take responsibility for the team’s results also showed a level of professionalism and desire to win that is all too rare at this club.

We Can Still Match The Best Sides In The League

A disappointing November had many Coventry fans doubting the true measure of quality of this team. Many of our wins this season had come against bottom half sides leading to the sense that we were ‘flat-track bullies’ and incapable of producing the goods when there was a genuine need to do so. However recent wins against Peterborough and MK Dons as well as a dominant display in defeat to Swindon has lead to many reconsidering their opinion. Although we had our luck in the win over Peterborough it was the manner in which the side asserted their dominance in the second half which forced the result. The conclusion being that our best may be too good for even the better sides in the league, which is a rare feeling at Coventry City.

We Need To Put Away The Weaker Sides

Points dropped this month in abject displays against poor Crewe and Oldham sides have seen us slowly slip away from the play-off picture that we were in in mid-November. These dropped points seemed to come about as a result of complacency more than anything else as the team’s pressing game eased off against the supposed weaker teams in this division. If we want to push for the play-offs this season then we really need to step the intensity up and play more in the manner of the Colchester and Notts County games where we passed and pressed the opposition into submission. This is where the bulk of our points will come from and will make the difference between mid-table and a play-off challenge.

The Lack of Impact From Loan Players

After the initial bump in the performance against MK Dons at the end of November which featured goals from loanees Chris Maguire and Chris Dagnall with a solid display in defence from Seaborne, the impact in December has been rather muted. A disappointing display against Crewe saw Maguire dropped to the bench against Swindon and recalled the day after. Dagnall and Seaborne both put in poor performances as well against Crewe, with the latter costing the team a goal and the former simply playing shockingly. This has led to question marks as to whether the three loan players were really needed with none out of the three really being an improvement over the options already available to Pressley. However recent displays from Dagnall and Seaborne have improved and there can be no doubting the necessity of having experienced bodies to line our paper-thin squad so overall they have made a positive impact in my opinion.

Cartoon Drawings Prove Very Little

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‘Highfield Road II’

The main piece of news concerning the ongoing stadium farce at the club was the unveiling of the designs for the new stadium that may or may not be built. For some this has reassured them a little that there are contingency plans in place should the owners fail to buy the Ricoh. For others this is another bluff on the part of our owners and should not be believed. A more balanced view would be that stadium designs mean absolutely nothing without the land actually being purchased to put the stadium. Is this a bluff from SISU in order to win the ultimate prize of the Ricoh? Maybe but at the moment it’s all conjecture and yet again any statement from both the club and council needs to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt.

5 Things We Learned In November

Defensive Weaknesses Return

The main thing I have learned in November is that our defensive frailties which we assumed were left behind long ago in September were never really apart from us. The month began with two straightforward wins over a League Two side in the FA Cup and a side that belongs in League Two in the League. After gliding past Walsall, Leyton Orient and Wolves only conceding 2 it was assumed that Jordan Clarke and Andy Webster were finally playing together as an effective defensive partnership. However a blood and thunder game against Bradford City brought the old weaknesses at the back to the fore. After racing ahead to a 2 goal lead in 10 minutes, an air-kick from Jordan Clarke after a defensive kerfuffle from a simple long-ball allowed Bradford one of the simplest goals they’ll ever score. From then on we struggled to deal with a direct style of play from the Bantams and the pace of their left-winger, this resulted in a final-minute penalty conceded by Jordan Clarke who hand-balled after failing to compete with James Hanson in the air. Nevermind, a 3-3 draw against Bradford wasn’t too bad, this performance was followed up by two consecutive heavy defeats to Tranmere and Rotherham by and aggregate score of 8 goals to 1. Ouch.

The Importance of Leon Clarke

The performance against Rotherham highlighted the importance of Leon Clarke to his Coventry side. Billy Daniels tried but lacked the physicality and intelligence that Leon Clarke offers as the attacking fulcrum to the side. As a result Coventry only mustered 2 efforts on target during the game compared to 4 in Clarke’s final appearance before succumbing to injury. Although there isn’t a large degree of statistical information available I think it’s been clear that our attacking play has been less effective without Clarke in the side. In the two games since Clarke picked up his injury Callum Wilson has failed to score despite having several clear chances to do so. Not only does Clarke create (and score) chances himself but he’s also a key leader of the side, taking the pressure off younger members of the squad who had flourished under his influence so far this season.

The Poor Form of Carl Baker

It’s not that Carl Baker is a divisive player, he’s a schizophrenic one. Although he’s not at the Franck Moussa level of being loved and hated at the same time, Baker has a clear divide in his playing personality. During the space of 10 minutes he can be both the best and worst player on the pitch. Last season he scored 12 league goals, a remarkable achievement for a midfielder playing for Coventry. However this was despite him spending the opening two or three months of the season struggling to make the simplest of passes. This season has seen Baker’s impact far more reduced with so far only 1 league goal but alarmingly his performance levels have been in sharp decline over the past month. Even worse has been Baker’s displays as captain of the side, already famous for waving his arms in the air and demanding the ball, only to often give it away instantly, Baker’s poor performance and lack of leadership against Rotherham was a key factor in an insipid performance where the team showed no sign of halting the slide once the Millers started scoring. After Maguire’s impact against MK Dons it could be a while before the captain regains his place in the starting XI.

The Cavalry Arrives

Thursday saw a rare sight for Coventry fans this season, not only did the club bring in an extra player but they only went and added 3 players to the squad. Partly due to injuries, partly due to two abject defeats in a row but Pressley made his biggest squad shake-up since the summer. First to come was Barnsley striker Chris Dagnall, then came Yeovil centre-back Danny Seaborne and finally in came Chris Maguire on loan from Sheffield Wednesday. After bringing in Jamar Loza on loan from Norwich, who later returned there, it was a surprise to see three experienced names added to the first-team squad after a season largely based around getting the best out of the youth in the squad. No-one could deny that this wasn’t a needed boost and it was good to see Pressley identifying a problem and remedying it as soon as he could. The subsequent win against MK Dons featured all three loan signings, Seaborne and Dagnall both starting and Maguire from the bench, with Dagnall and Maguire both on the scoresheet which emphatically emphasised the feeling of freshness as a result of Thursday’s business.

Coventry City Is Still Alive

My final point is a positive one to highlight the positive feeling to the end of the month. Whilst the impending striking crisis for the Hartlepool game or Cyrus Christie’s slow return to form were both contenders, I’d prefer to reflect on what felt like an amazing weekend to be a Coventry fan. Avoiding for a second the awkward logic of Saturday’s show of support for our exiled club occurring against MK Dons of all teams, it felt good to see Coventry City making the headlines for the right reasons. For some outside observers the move to Sixfields and dismal attendances have been a display of apathy over moral stance, visibly showing such a large number of Coventry supporters in the same place sent the message that this is not only a club that is alive but a big one at that. Hearing the noise during the closing stages of the game on Saturday from the radio felt akin to a Cup final rather than a league game in the third-tier of English football. The adrenaline of that dramatic win over MK Dons stayed with me long into Sunday and hopefully those type of feelings can be the future rather than a memory for Coventry City fans in years to come.

5 Things We Learned In October

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We’re A Match For The Best In The Division

This time last month we had just lost our second game on the bounce and were back in the relegation zone. What was worse was that we were heading towards our toughest run of fixtures this season, Sheffield United, Wolves, Leyton Orient and Walsall. Most Coventry fans at that point would have taken 5 or 6 points from those games and hopefully not being too entrenched in the relegation zone.

We end the month now just 5 points from the play-offs having taken 10 out of 12 points from that run of fixtures, playing our most controlled football of the season and only an Andy Webster miss from taking 12 from 12. The loss of Cyrus Christie did little to affect our performances despite having started the season as one of our best attacking players from full-back position.

The onus now is to continue to prove that we belong in the upper echelons of the division by sustaining our form now that we have a run of games in November against sides that we would be expecting to beat, except maybe Bradford and the unmentionable Buckinghamshire football club.

The Emergence of Aaron Phillips

Although he only started one out of a possible five games following Cyrus Christie’s injury during the Peterborough game, Aaron Phillips has emerged as perhaps the best out of the crop of academy players who hadn’t played for Coventry before this season. Before October started Aaron Phillips was, as the BBC journalist Tim Vickery says, not even a household name in his own household. Now he has his first goal and start to his name in League football and staked a claim for man-of-the-match during Saturday’s win against Walsall.

The first glimpse that many Sky Blues fans had of him was from the bench during the Sky TV match against Sheffield United where he made three impressive tackles a minute after coming on. Since then he came on to score against Wolves and finally started his first game during the Walsall encounter. What makes his emergence all the more impressive has been that our second-choice right-back Jordan Willis, who had been deputising for Christie, also had been highly impressive during the month of October. Hopefully this will make the inevitable knock-down price sale of Cyrus Christie less of a blow.

The End of the Road for Manset?

Saturday’s game against Walsall came with the revelation prior to the match that Mathieu Manset, this season’s serial substitute, was set for a loan move. After the game Steven Pressley’s comments intimated that Manset was frustrated not to be starting games at the club, despite there being two in-form strikers as well as Manset having the fitness levels of a 60-year-old lifetime smoker. Pressley also suggested that prior to signing Manset he thought that he could turn around his fitness levels but it has become clear that the Frenchman is unable to fit into Pressley’s aggressive pressing playing style. This to me seems like an irreconcilable difference and I would be surprised to see the Frenchman play for the Sky Blues again.

The Friday evening signing of Norwich youngster Jamar Loza on a 28-day loan also suggests that relations between Manset and Pressley have reached the point of no return. In Pressley’s post-match interview he added that he had never seen Loza play in the flesh and had only signed him to fill Manset’s now vacant space on the bench. What this could mean is that Pressley has a more permanent replacement in line, reportedly the trialist and ex-Birmingham striker Jake Jervis, in line to sign a permanent deal in the next couple of weeks.

A Turning in the Tides in the Ricoh Row?

Last month saw the first interview that our secretive owner Joy Seppala had given to the press. The quiet from the council had been deafening with some fans asking why the council has not even so much as commented on Joy’s argument that the club should own the Ricoh Arena. Last week though Coventry City Council leader Ann Lucas finally spoke out at after fans protested outside the council’s offices. Lucas has argued that the current judicial review has prevented the council from offering a riposte to Seppala’s comments but also that they would be willing to sit back down and speak to the football club and hammer out some form of a deal.

Although both sides both appear to be saying the same thing, their door’s is open and they’re waiting for the other side to talk to them. The success of the Get Cov Back to the Ricoh campaign suggests that less of the blame from the fans is being apportioned to SISU and more pressure is being put on the council to speak to the football club. It still seems that even if either side was willing to be pro-active in coming to speak with the other that the demands either side are making seem incompatible with each other. However the main hope of a deal being done is the pressure being put on the elected council members who could start to fear being forced out of office should the pressure on them becomes much greater on the side of Coventry residents. Hopefully this month has seen the start of a process that sees the club return to the stadium that had been built for it.

It’s AFC Wimbledon in the Cup

The draw for the FA Cup first round proper was made today and it has seen us drawn against AFC Wimbledon. With the current state of the club obvious parallels have been drawn with the South London side’s situation where they had their team forcibly moved to Milton Keynes. For some Coventry fans, who are deluded in my opinion, the fear is that SISU want to move Coventry’s most popular sports team to the ripe sporting market Northampton, you know where they have one of the country’s most popular Rugby Union side, an established football team and a successful county cricket side as well. This kind of thinking is obviously ridiculous although there is the very real danger that Coventry City ceases to exist in its current form and we have to think about doing what true Wimbledon fans had to do.

This whole situation though has made me feel an affinity with Dons supporters and my hatred of that other team has risen infinitely over these past few months. Hopefully Coventry fans will share my sentiments and choose not to travel to Buckinghamshire on the 30th of November and instead go down to South London on the 9th and watch two real football teams with two real sets of fans. Even though I choose to go to Northampton, I have no interest in supporting a club that doesn’t stand for Coventry City. The coincidence of facing up to away trips to one real and one fake club from the same root should hopefully help Coventry fans make the decision to support real football by boycotting Milton Keynes and putting your money towards the real Wimbledon.

5 Things We Learned In September

Perhaps We’re Not One Of The Best Sides In The Division

We started this month as one of the form sides in League 1. In addition to that we also were breaking records on a game-by-game basis. First it was getting into a positive points tally, second it was getting off bottom of the table and then we (briefly) escaped the bottom 4. Prior to the Port Vale game many fans were wondering whether this team was not only one of the best sides in the division but one of the best sides we’ve had since relegation from the Premiership. It seemed that we were even starting to keep clean sheets and control games with possession, as opposed to the mad goal rushes of August. However after finishing September with back-to-back defeats, sinking back into the bottom 4, questions about how brilliant we actually were are starting to be asked. Our wins this season came at Bristol City (currently without a win this season), Carlisle (who were had conceded around 10 goals at that moment in time), Colchester (who barely had 11 fit players to choose from) and Gillingham (who were also winless when we played them). Up against sides not undergoing serious confidence issues are record was much poorer, losing to Crawley, Port Vale and Brentford as well as drawing in that mad-cap Preston match. The truth probably lies somewhere in between us being awesome or terrible, at the moment though we’re yet to prove ourselves against a genuinely good side (except perhaps Preston) and any outside hopes of promotion are going to need the side to improve on what they already are.

Squad Depth Is Our Achilles Heel

It was apparant on the opening day of the season and after releasing every member of the ‘bomb squad’ we were told there was room to sign players and improve the squad depth. So far for the 12 first-team players who left in the summer only 3 players have been signed, that includes Stuart Urquhart clearly signed as a reserve not to be seen in first-team action any time soon. A deal for Blackburn winger Fabio Nunes fell through and the squad remains very light. Sunday’s problems against Brentford were perhaps caused by a lack of a genuine option on the right-flank, Baker and Daniels were both out injured and Barton, lacking confidence after one or two hefty early challenges, did not provide an adequate level of performance being asked for by Pressley. Looking deeper and the only option that Pressley really has on the bench to change a game is Manset, the rest are either untried youngsters or more defensive options. Manset is also someone who doesn’t appear to be able to play a full 90 minutes should Leon Clarke or Callum Wilson pick up an injury, by the way Leon has clearly being playing through some sort of injury anyway. In an ideal world Pressley would be able to add 2 or 3 players to the squad and it sounds like he’s trying to add at least one but our prospects this season depend heavily on not sustaining injuries or selling key players.

Our Best Form Of Attack Is Defence

Adding on to the opening point the best performances so far this season have came when we’ve been able to dominate the opposition. This may sound logical but whenever opponents have been able to sustain spells of pressure (even for 10 or 15 minutes) they have been able to score goals, usually from sloppy mistakes from our defenders. With a young side sometimes you have to accept they make mistakes and move on hoping they improve. When it’s been happening with such regularity you have to ask questions of the management and organisation of the team on the pitch. We’ve been trying to attack with both full-backs even when the opposition have been dominating us. At times this has worked in a ‘fortune favours the brave’ fashion and the approach is genuinely commendable over some of the more pragmatic approaches we’ve seen in the past. It does leave us exposed at the back with major gaps for opposing strikers to run into. It’s hard though to truly recommend that this approach be tailored as thus far when we’ve been bold we’ve usually been scoring and when we’ve tried to hold onto leads by being defensive we’ve conceded. Perhaps a change to a back 3 or slightly more cautious or possesion based approach to defending may be needed in future.

Joy Has A Corporeal Form

Last week saw a landmark in SISU’s tenure at the club, the previously invisible owner Joy Seppala showed her face, well at least to a select number of fans and journalists. What this shows to me is that SISU care about the club, at least making a success of it rather than casting it off like a pair of old jeans. However it’s become clear that other people don’t see it that way and for the most part will not change their mind. It’s hard to convince this people what I believe, partially because I still remain cautious and take what’s being said with a pinch of salt but also because people are now very entrenched in their views. The scenes that some saw around Sixfields on Sunday are endemic of what’s happening more broadly with our fanbase. There is a clear division in the fanbase and it’s going to be tough imagining that there’ll be many in either faction willing to forgive what some people have been saying any time soon. The longer the situation goes in its current murky grey phase where there appears to be absolutely no movement on either side this only seems to get worse. For Coventry fans on the whole we can’t let this become personal otherwise there won’t be a club to support whenever it comes to a solution, we need to grow up, understand other people’s views and decisions and get on with supporting Coventry in whatever way we see fit.

Franck Scores Another Wonder Goal

Finishing on a more positive note let’s see that wonderful Franck Moussa goal against Port Vale again. For the most part it’s been very difficult treading the minefield that supporting Coventry City has become. There is nothing complicated though about enjoying an absolutely brilliant goal from Franck Moussa which saw us retake a deserved lead in the first half against Port Vale. He sometimes frustrates but he definately has a wonderful goal in his tank whenever the moment takes him, and it usually appears to be in front of large numbers of City away fans (remember that goal against Franchise FC last December).

Enjoy.