You’d think we’d be used to it by now.

It’s been the 10 days from hell, and while the management takes a new slimline shape, the players and fans are still here, and we’ve got an important game to play.

This weekend, what’s left of our coaching team prepare the squad to take on a Bury team which finds itself firmly in the League One relegation zone.

We know what is supposed to happen. Everyone is so down in the dumps, it gives an excuse for us to lose from now on in.

Maybe – and I realise this is a bit maverick – maybe we don’t do that this time? That’d learn ’em, wouldn’t it. All of them.

How are they getting on?

It’s not looking good. They’ve been in the relegation zone pretty much all season. In fact, the last time they weren’t was after they came back from 2-0 down to draw with us back in August – a result which cost Andy Thorn his job, or so he would have you believe.

They’re 5 points off safety, but recently have found time to grab some fairly impressive results. They lost at home to Sheffield Utd the other night but prior to that had managed away draws at Brentford and MK Dons, whilst beating Doncaster at home.

It’s a flurry of form which suggests they’re more than capable of taking on a team who’ve lost two on the bounce, but it doesn’t disguise the fact that they’ve only managed 5 wins all season.

Who could cause us trouble?

Well, Craig Fagan and former City naughty boy (allegedly) Jonson Clarke-Harris have joined the Shakers until the end of the season. Fagan’s a striker with Premiership experience, although very little in terms of goal-scoring to back that up. He’s managed 13 league goals since 9 January 2007 after 130 games.

Clarke-Harris on the other hand is young and for this reason it’s difficult to tell whether he will join the starting eleven straight away. He’s a strong and mobile kind of guy, and showed plenty of promise while at City before being let go (somewhat surprisingly) last year.

Tom Soares is also a name many of you will be familiar with, especially after his exploits at Crystal Palace which earned him a £1.25 million move to Stoke. Things didn’t work out there and he joined Bury back in August having been released. He’s not played too much, but is back in the team at the moment and scored his first goal of the season in the comeback at Brentford a week ago.

Finally, Steven Schumacher has 6 league goals this season making him top scorer. Obviously, top scorers are always worth watching.

Sky Blues team news

Lee Carsley’s main concern will be boosting morale. With Robins leaving so abruptly and the frustration of consecutive defeats still to contend with, the players need a kick of positivity up their collective bums. They need to start believing in themselves again.

Player-wise, Blair Adams is the key absentee having tweaked his knee during the defeat to Yeovil last weekend, meaning he’s going to be out for a month, With only Jordan Clarke having any genuine hope of deputising in an consistent manner, Waggott has gone and picked up Carl Dickinson on an emergency loan from Watford. He’ll come straight into the team.

New manager + two previous defeats would appear to lend itself to some changes in personnel on the pitch. Mind you, it would be pretty radical for Carsley to mess too much with the standard 4-5-1 that has served us so well on the road. You’d certainly expect to see Leon Clarke continue as the sole front man.

As we saw when Shaw took the reins, each manager has his own perspective on what sort of players he likes, so all eyes will be open to the possibility of a shock omission or inclusion as he attempts to liven things up.

Prediction

It’s time to find the same resilience that’s served us so well for a large chunk of this season. If we have any thoughts of being involved in the play-offs we do have to start winning again. While the gap is far from insurmountable, achieving it will be largely dependent on our ability to go on a concerted run of form from this point onwards. A 3rd defeat in a row would make finding that required consistency extremely difficult.

Prior to Robins pissing off, I had this down as a draw. My opinion hasn’t changed too much since then. Sure, we could contract Caretaker Syndrome and produce a performance much like the one we saw against Birmingham back in August. But what feels more likely is a right old scrap, resulting in a goal or two at each end.

In regular circumstances, we’d win this – of course we would. However, I have visions of a hard-fought draw as we desperately seek to get back to normality.

Boring old 1-1.

Image of Gigg Lane courtesy of Lens Envy on Flickr, under Creative Commons license

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2 comments

  1. just about to catch a train to manchester and after all the shenanigans this week has delivered i am feeling optimistic. i predict a sky blue victory and if we manage this today it would mean so much more than three points.

    i hope the players really want this today

    1. Absolutely right, it does represent more than just 3 points. We need to shake off the bad feeling asap. Let’s turn that corner.

      Although the 3 points’ll come in mighty handy, obviously. Just to keep us in touch with that bunch above us.

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