Morning all. Just a few home truths to start with.
It’s important to note that no matter what Steven Pressley said after that game the other night – that was not a good display. We all know what we saw. Sure, it’s nice to be nice, and I know why he said what he said in front of the cameras. But we’re not daft. We see you, City.
That’s not to say there weren’t fleeting positives. The goal was alright, Lee Burge has a nice kick when he actually connects with it, and Swanson can sometimes control the ball in a John Fleck-esque manner. Of course these are all hilariously minor, so aside from Ryan Haynes’ second half display and visible increase in confidence, the good moments were pretty insignificant when placed within the context of a thoroughly naff performance.
It’s tempting to mitigate early season cup performance against higher opposition, but that doesn’t really cut it against a Cardiff City reserve team who were primed for a test had we given it anything close to what we were capable of last season. It was only their lack of clinical nature which made the game seem far closer than it was (from a scoreline perspective at least).
Fortunately I’m starting to realise that there really aren’t too many hard and fast rules you can apply to football. Form, while an indicator, doesn’t mean this can’t be fixed. It’s so inexplicable and can change in an instant. We’ve been here many times before, so once again I’m prepared to give it time to gauge a better understanding of what we’ve got this year.
OK, I’ve not been impressed at all, but I’m all ears. Come on City. It’s Sheffield Utd next. Woo the pants off me, you saucepots.
How are they getting on?
It was a disappointing opening day defeat for Sheffield Utd, a team who many – the Niis included – think have got a decent shot season. Losing the first game isn’t the end of the world, and as this lot showed last season, you can actually be useless all the way until Valentines Day, then go on a run and end up just missing out on the play-offs.
What Sheffield Utd managed last season was incredible. Relegation zone for most of the campaign, followed by a stunning flurry of results which took them from 23rd to 7th in 8 or 9 weeks. It was a turnaround which aligned in many respects with the gradual improvements brought about under Nigel Clough. It was by no means an instant impact, as they struggled to emerge from from the relegation zone for a good few months following his appointment in October. But 2014 has been a good one for them so far – phenomenal league form and an FA Cup semi-final the highlights – so I fully expect that impetus to continue.
They put the defeat to Bristol City behind them by snatching a 2-1 League Cup win over Mansfield during the week, which you’d hope for their sake was far more exciting than the bumble-fest poor Dave Jones had to endure in the Sky studios on Wednesday night.
Who could cause us trouble?
Clough made some changes to his opening day line up against Mansfield, with the captain hoopla set to continue this weekend as Doyle returned to the line up while stand-in armbandit Higdon was rested. Clearly Doyle will take the honour if he plays, and seeing as it’s against us, you’d have to fancy him to do so. But if being a football fan has taught me anything, it’s that it’s always interesting to make a fuss about stuff like that when it comes around, even if the players don’t think about it.
Higdon himself is the man I’d be most concerned about dealing with. We don’t tend to deal well with strong chaps, as Saturday proved with James Hanson once again giving our defence a ruddy good hiding. Higdon is less gigantic, but seems to play the handful card really well. He grabbed a goal against Bristol and showed some nice touches when linking up the play.
Summer signing Marc McNulty grabbed the winner against Mansfield the other night so will also be hoping that goal is enough to keep him in the starting line-up for this game.
Sky Blues team news
The four changes the other day were enough to render the side pretty much unrecognisable from anything we saw last season, with Clarke, Webster and Fleck the only season-long regulars to make the team.
Big bad Réda Johnson was missing from the back as he was given a rest after a manic opening game, taking his place in the stand with Trampbeater, no less. Word has it that he’s ready to return in place of Jack Finch who had a character-building introduction to the first team. He did fine, showed his key attributes, and should push on now after some valuable exposure.
Danny Pugh’s not looking up to much having been sent for a scan on his injured limb, but fear not – Ryan Haynes has already offered himself as a capable and competent replacement with an impressive substitute appearance. He’s certainly grown from his debut back at the Ricoh – I don’t think any of us would have an issue with him coming into the team from the start.
I’m intrigued to see how the attacking unit will come together. Tudgay’s lurking in the background and I fancied him to be our main striker this year, so expect to see him back. Miller took his chance with a well-taken goal against Cardiff meaning that leaves McQuoid on the bench if I was picking. We’re still guessing though as none of them has really shown the level of quality worth using as starting eleven justification.
As always, I had no interest in the League Cup, so the joke’s on Cardiff. They can have that one.
This game however already feels like a crucial one for confidence – for the players and our own. A week into a new season and it’s about time we started to see something beneficial from this new look line-up. With a slight tweak here and there, and maybe an extra player or four in the opposition half, you’d hope we’ll at least give a better account of ourselves than the other night.
I’m sensing something slightly better, and getting off the mark with a point seems to fit that criteria.
Neil: Coventry 1-1 Sheffield Utd
Joey: Coventry 1-0 Sheffield Utd
Paul: Coventry 0-0 Sheffield Utd
So, what you thinking? Share your prediction below:[statsfc-score-predictor team=”Coventry” date=”2014-08-16″ key=”jwLfbovUFY4PyCDRgPz8zjsNB2nGAjTOLVQlXlAJ” default_css=”true”] [/tab] [tab name=”tab_2″]
Episode 70 – The Nii Lamptey Show
This week: There’s been a game, a new formation and another stunning edition of Only Covect.
Go on, treat yourselves.
Contains no mid-pod pen acquisition.