Welcome to Coventry City version 2.0. New boss, new coach, new players, new plan and hopefully, new era.
Before we delve into the detail of Saturday’s match against Carlisle, we’ve got a few introductions to make.
Firstly, a large Sky Blues Blog welcome to our new boss Mark Robins. I had attempted to gather some feedback for another Family Fortunes feature on him, but unfortunately I got about three responses. I could have punctuated those with anecdotes about how he reminds me a bit of Alan Warriner, but that’d be wasting all of our time.
Today really has been manic with additional news, with Robins’ right-hand man Steve Taylor joining the coaching line up too. For me, this is almost as important as the new manager himself. Robins can’t do it all. It has become clear that something hasn’t worked in the back room set up for a long time, and the big worry was that even if a new manager could bring fresh ideas, there was going to be little change if he didn’t have the staff to help him implement these.
So allowing this to happen is great – nice one Fisho – and it also takes some of the pressure off the inexperienced Richard Shaw and Carsley too.
I was more than happy with that news, so to hear that we’d then brought in three brand spanking new players, well, has rendered me positively loopy. Of course, it’s not reckless optimism, because there’s still a lot of work to transform the mindset across the club. But it certainly offers that freshness, and as my podcast buddy little Eddy Wilson put it, “even if they’re average, it gives the other jerks something to think about”.
Warm greetings to Conor Henderson who joins us on loan from Arsenal until the new year. He’s a lovely fluid player, who has a smashing glide to both his movement and his passing. Now, that sort of thing might not be what you’re looking for in a player, but much like Norwood, I bloody love it. Sexy shape to your passes? Yes, please.
Bon jour to former Leicester midfielder Franck Moussa who has signed a short term deal, having been a free agent over the summer. He’s nippy, lively, and can take people on. You know we all love a bit of that. Good luck to him.
Finally, can I venture a thoroughly manly “cooee” to Wolves left-back Jamie Reckord. This lad’s young too, but he’s already got a decent amount of senior football under his belt, and is tremendously keen to get his career going by all accounts.
So, after all that, we’ve got a game eh? A massively important game at that. Coventry chap Greg Abbott brings his Carlisle team to the Ricoh, in an selfish attempt to spoil things.
How are they getting on?
They’re 14th, which at this stage of the season doesn’t really mean much as it puts them both two points off the play-offs and four off relegation. The form is the key thing, and it’s an ever so slightly mixed bag. OK, they’ve not lost in 3, but with two of those being home draws, we know only too well how that is often to be perceived as points lost.
Mind you, the first home draw was a very useful 2-2 against Swindon, but having followed that up with a 0-0 to Crewe, they’ll want to pick things up again as soon as they can. Other notable results this season include a 4-2 victory over Portsmouth and a couple of victories seeing them into the third round of the Capital One cup.
They’re a good team, with a good manager, who I have a feeling will do well this season, pushing on following some sturdy performances in the previous two.
Who could cause us trouble?
They’ve just brought in some loan players of their own, most recently in the form of Huddersfield attacker Kallum Higginbotham. He’s probably going to start on the bench, but after doing a bit of reading, and picking up that he gave a man of the match performance on his Huddersfield debut, he’s the kind of guy you always need to keep an eye on.
It’s likely to be the story of the loanees as another borrowed player, Jake Jervis, also threatens to cause us some grief. Jervis is Birmingham City striker who’s been all over the place (and popped up with plenty of goals) these past couple of seasons. He’s a whopping 6’3″, and has 3 goals to his name so far this year. I hear it’s his last appearance before he returns to St Andrews however. He’ll want to go out with a flourish.
Sky Blues team news
I keep saying this, but this time, it’s going to be true: there has to be changes. You can’t put in a performance like the one against Shrewsbury and not be reprimanded for it.
There are plenty of rumours about how Robins is going to set up, but the most credible would appear to see Chris Hussey drop out of the first team and either Kilbane or new signing Reckord slot into left-back, while Billy Edge gets a rest in favour of a return to action for Reece Brown.
Our attacking areas have felt extremely disjointed, and the idea of placing McGoldrick as the central striker drew plenty of criticism, especially from the Nii Lamptey boys in this week’s show. It’s only forum rumour, but we should mention that Cody McDonald is apparently doing a bit of Freddy and isn’t quite fit, although the definition of fit is one that leaves me a bit confused. He looked lively enough in the opening games, but maybe the inexplicable omissions, are actually more explicable than we thought.
One man who may find himself back in the starting 11 is new signing John Fleck, as he appears fully recovered from his injury.
Given his supposed qualities and the praise given already by Robins,we should also expect to see loanee Conor Henderson play a decent chunk of the match.
This is all so new, but will the performance on the pitch be any different? That’s the fundamental question we’ll all be asking come 3pm.
There should be a boost; we’ve got a brand new manager for heaven’s sake, that’s what’s supposed to happen. And you know what, I’ve got a feeling that there will be a certain level of momentum behind us. This should be enough to see us through to a result.
It may not be supremely attractive, but a win will do everyone the world of good.
Let’s say 2-0 or 2-1.
The alternative ramble
Those guys from Bring Me the Head of Keith Mincher also asked me to run the rule over City for their preview. Have a read, if you like to do that sort of thing. It’s pretty brilliant.