Steady on City, you’ll do yourself a mischief.

As far as opening day victories go, that was up there with the best ones I can remember. The quality, the constant intrigue, the atmosphere. It reminded me of the olden days when I used to enjoy entire football matches.

You know we’ll take the 3 points however they come, but to generate so much excitement through a top class performance really does help to whip up the requisite levels of keenness which’ll get people coming back again.

The missing Adam Armstrong could well have an undesired impact given just how much threat his pace offered at the weekend, but game two of the season demands a win as well. League cup or not, the aim this season is to shake off the old ways of this club and you do that by winning games of football.

How are they getting on?

Rochdale started the season in similarly strong fashion with a clear 2-0 victory over Peterborough. They’re both strong outfits at this level, but by all accounts it sounded like a solid and well-earned three points.

Their pre-season was fairly impressive as they notched up wins against Blackburn, Huddersfield and MK Dons, but seeing as we’re trying to persuade ourselves that pre-season means sod all, we should probably extend the same logic to assessing their performances too.

And that’s it really. We’re all guessing at this stage. We know they’re a well developed team under Keith Hill, and we have a god-awful record against them (although we’ve only played them three times this millennium), so in lieu of much else to help us along the way, here are a few stats what I-gone-done-robbed from the BBC.

  • The away team just doesn’t win this game apparently. None of the previous eight competitive games have been won by the team playing away from home.
  • Rochdale have lost in the first-round of the League Cup in each of the last three seasons.
  • Mind you, we’re not much better having been knocked out in the first-round in five of the last six attempts.

Who could cause us trouble?

Ian Henderson is your main man in this Rochdale team having scored a hat-full last season and is seemingly primed to do the same again this year. He has the quality that’s for sure.

Northern Ireland Under 19 midfielder Callum Camps took just 18 minutes to get off the mark in the opening game of the season and will be worth keeping our eyes on as he’ll be feeling on top of the world.

Elsewhere, most of us will have heard of Reuben Noble-Lazarus who made his league debut at just 15 a few years back. He’s 21 now and there’s still a chance that he will eventually start to fulfil his promise at some point. He also scored at the weekend. Use that information as you wish.

Sky Blues team news

Unfortunately Adam Armstrong will have to sit this one out as Newcastle exercise their right to be selfish and prevent him playing in cup games. Listening to Tone yesterday it sounds like he’s prepared to take the opportunity to adjust the side a little in the wake of a few knocks and bumps from the Wigan game.

If the 4-2-4 was a shock the other day, I’ll be buggered if I can figure out his thinking for this evening. I have a feeling he’ll bring Marcus Tudgay into the fold, which by necessity will require a change to how we shape up. The likelihood is we’ll utilise him as a single striker with Maddison supporting.

It’s not clear yet whether Lameiras will also join the team as I sense that he may be the one to be rotated, but George Thomas is also waiting in the wings if we need to supplement our attacking options.

Willis went off with concussion the other day which should leave Aaron Phillips free to step in at right back. He should see this as an opportunity, that right back slot is certainly up for grabs this season.

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Predictions

The standard thing to do as Coventry fans is to claim you don’t care about this game because it’s the league cup. But you don’t put in a performance like we did the other day without taking some confidence from it. We’ve got to do our best to harness that. It was a terrifically crafted result, and while we may have to change some of the faces that contributed, the focus should still be on victory.

I think we’ll find a way, although it could be a tricky one to navigate. I have a feeling we could be in for a long night.

Neil: Rochdale 1 – 1 Coventry (City on pens)

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