We’ve lost a few games, and the world has come tumbling down apparently.
Or has it? We all know it’s bloody annoying when we lose – I felt that very much at the Notts County game. And it’s certainly compounded when you remember the deplorable circumstances we find ourselves in. But as Pressley mentioned this week, that points deduction has really messed with our perception. Without it, we’d still be just two points off play-offs this season – that’s a decent performance for February.
It’s easy to forget that when you look at the table. We gave ourselves a fantastic platform to build on but the one thing we couldn’t afford to do is fall below promotion form if we wanted to make up those points. But to allow a bad run to colour our entire opinion of the campaign so far or our capabilities? That’s just a bit too “us” for my liking.
All I know is that giving up on a season already isn’t an option. This isn’t about feasibility – making the play-offs is going to take ludicrous form – it’s about a mindset. A culture of acceptance manifests in many ways. Players not trying is the natural conclusion we make, but I’d argue it’s more about how it influences their decisions on the pitch or how they react to disappointment. These are the real issues.
It’s February and finishing this season in a positive manner remains crucial. Saying that we’ve overachieved, that avoiding relegation is the best we could hope for – these sentiments feel full of resignation to me, and we all know where that mindset has left us in the past.
So let’s keep going. If the ten points screws us over, so be it. But this team is still in a good position to make us proud and a few missing players and defeats isn’t going to lure me into a mentality of guarding against failure again. We already know what that feels like – and it doesn’t help anything on the pitch anyway. You can’t trick the team into playing better with reverse psychology. Embracing mediocrity has never worked. It’s what leaves you 25 years without any success, and not really minding about it at all.
Off we head to Tranmere, and it’s important this bunch of players knows we’re not happy with them tumbling down the league. They haven’t overachieved – they haven’t even achieved anything yet – but they do have 13 wins and 58 goals under their belt so far. They can get back on track if they put their mind to it.
How are they getting on?
Well, Tranmere battered us at Sixfields, but as a general rule are struggling their way through the season. Oddly, they’re only 5 points behind us, with a very congested bottom half of the table confusing things a little. But as for recent form, they’ve won 2, drawn 1 and lost 3 of their last 6, so it’s a sign of a team really trying everything to get out of it, but coming up against some issues.
However you judge their form, they still beat us 5-1, so we need to acknowledge that a good performance is required. You can’t rely on luck to get yourselves out of a rut; you have to make it happen. For us, that’s for individuals showing the same level of performance they were a month or two ago.
Oh, and Ronnie Moore has been suspended for allegedly putting bets on. Which is either really naughty, or really daft.
Who could cause us trouble?
Ryan Lowe is older than I thought, but always scores against us. These runs increase a player’s confidence so you’ll have to watch out for him. He has 15 goals so far this season so it’s not just us that have struggled against him – we must be alert to his threat.
Last year when Tranmere were doing well, Andy Robinson was also having a blinder. It’s not quite working out for him this season, but he’s scored 3 goals – which in the context of their team is second best.
Sky Blues team news
Callum Wilson is making good progress with his injury, but this game will come too soon for him. Nathan Delfouneso also has injury concerns and will miss out again.
Joe Murphy has been suffering from illness, so barring a miraculous recovery he’ll be sitting out, leaving youngster Lee Burge free to take over the reins.
The most peculiar absence however is the temporary return of our new loanee Akpom to Arsenal, for a youth game. Apparently it was part of the “agreement”. You can’t help but feel it’s pretty tame allowing that to form part of the terms.
Choose your line-up at www.skybluesblog.co.uk/selector
I think we should be good enough to win, and think that we should win. I will also be annoyed if we lose again.
But I also have a prediction league to try and get back into, so I have to play the percentages.
Therefore, I think we will win but the record states my prediction as the following. I’m pretty annoyed it all about, to be honest.
Neil: Tranmere 2 – 1 Coventry
Joey: Tranmere 0 – 2 Coventry
Paul: Tranmere 2 – 0 Coventry