Season’s greetings you bunch of merry angels. I trust you are much like me and stuffed to the brim with turkey, peanuts, and those little Cheeselets which you only ever seem to buy at Christmas.
It’s Boxing Day, and it would be nice to have a bit of time off, but seeing as I haven’t missed a ramble all year – it’d be wrong of me to start now. I will however, keep this short and sweet, but please do not misinterpret this brevity to be anything more than Yuletide lethargy.
Right, where are we?
If ever there was a game that showed exactly why it’s so difficult to understand and predict any game in this league, Saturday’s draw with Preston was it. The odds were stacked in our favour, and yet we found ourselves up against a combative style of play we had no genuine answer to. What a shame.
But not to worry; you can put a positive spin on anything. We’re still unbeaten, and our away form is positively golden. Surely we can raise it again for a trip to Stevenage?
How are they getting on?
Well, their immediate league form’s not that great. They’ve only won once in a six game period stretching back to 6 November, with that victory coming a couple of weeks ago away at Hartlepool (naturally).
More generally though, they are in the top 7, but it’s worth noting that this has to be attributed to their away form more than anything else. If you thought we were doing OK on the road, they’ve managed 7 victories and only lost twice. Impressive stuff.
Their home form on the other hand is far more comparable to ours with only three wins, but they do have a negative goal difference in those matches having conceded 19 goals – the most in the top half.
Who could cause us trouble?
They’re not a team of star names, but are a unit that complements each other, as we found out when we played them earlier on in the season.
Back then I picked out Filipe Morais and and Lucas Akins at potential problems for us, and I don’t think Morais even played. Akins however did play, and looked decent. He’s got 7 league goals so far this season which is a respectable figure, and would appear to offer a threat of which we must be wary.
Sky Blues team news
Because things didn’t go quite so well at the weekend, Robins will probably do some tinkering in an attempt to find that magic formula again. The one obvious change would be a straight swap in personnel and change Baker and Barton, but given the subs he made at the weekend I’m not too sure if that’s the way he’s thinking. He seems to be particularly keen on Barton and could still try to accommodate him if at all possible.
It’s likely to be James Bailey’s last game (for a while, at least), in what’s been a successful loan spell. He scored at the weekend, and will want to go out with a bang in his final competitive game before he returns home to Derby’s reserves.
The one thing we have to bear in mind is that we’ve got quite a few games coming up over the next two weeks. Robins hasn’t felt the need to rest players up to this point, but the possibility is always there for a shock in the teamsheet.
Once again, we’re left with a prediction dilemma. Here we have a team in good form, against a team in not-so-good form. We have a team that’s poor at home, against a team that’s doing very well on the road.
It should all be very simple, shouldn’t it?
I’m not so sure it is. As much as I’m positive about what we should be doing this season, and where we should be aiming, I’m just a little concerned about the damage of being outplayed in the previous match will have on the players confidence.
If you were looking from afar, you’d say we have a great chance. I think we might end up with another draw, though.