Wednesday night turned out alright in the end, didn’t it? Draws don’t get you anywhere in this league, and all that, but bloody hellin’ hell – to grab a point in that fashion, away to a team that we’re notoriously rubbish against, leaves little room for disappointment.
More than the point gained, it was the act of defiance that got me screaming. I saw it as a statement by the players to all us moaners that no matter how they play, they’re going to keep fighting. We’re told to keep the faith – with moments like that, it certainly makes that sentiment a whole lot easier to adhere to.
This weekend we return to the Ricoh to face bottom club Portsmouth. This is where the face-to-face scrapping with our relegation rivals really begins.
How are they getting on?
Just like us, they’re having a whale of time. 2012 has brought administration followed by the 10 points deduction, a plummet to bottom of the league and the steady loss of the majority of their good players.
Sometimes the points-hit that comes with administration skews things a bit, and as with Crystal Palace a couple of years back – a club is dropped into trouble, but is good enough to avoid it because they’re not really that bad. When that deduction sends a team spiralling into the relegation places though, the impact it has on morale seems even greater and they rarely scramble their way out.
They’ve endured a torrid run since the news of admin broke, but in the last couple of games they’ve decided to start picking up points again. The 4-1 home victory against promotion-chasing Birmingham City in midweek was a shock, even if it was against 10 men. This would’ve stunned us more, had it not been for Nottingham Forest doing the unspeakable and getting 7 goals away at Leeds. Ludicrous behaviour by both.
They’re clearly going to be full of confidence after that and fancy this as an away game they can win – we have to be ready for this; it’s our job to start fast, force the issue and dictate how we want the match to go.
Who could cause us trouble?
They’ve lost a lot of players, but still have some quality in their ranks. You may remember Kelvin Etuhu was a player the Sky Blues were linked with at the beginning of last season. Well, he’s at Pompey now, and regardless of what you make of him as a player – he’s got the physical attributes to be a nuisance if he wants to be.
Greg Halford has always struck me as solid, while Chris McGuire is on loan from Derby, and having scored his first for the club in the week, more goals tend to follow soon after. They’ve even got bloody Benjani on their bench. Okay, he’s not quite the same Benjani that was doing the business in the Premiership a few years back – but he’s typically the sort of player who’ll know how to stick the ball away against us.
Somehow, and I can’t quite figure this one out, they’ve actually been allowed to bring in a couple of loan signings from Man City, while we’re sat here still under a transfer embargo. That freshness could give them a bit of a boost, as it did for us when Nimely and Norwood turned up.
Sky Blues team news
Well, news floating around on Twitter is that Nathan Cameron is out. He’s vexed about it, apparently. Martin Cranie’s also carrying a knock, meaning it’s touch and go for him. Luckily, Chris Hussey is back and available to plug the gap at left back if required, but it’s in the centre of defence where we’ll be struggling if there’s no Cameron or Cranie. We’ll have to wait and see.
David Bell is still struggling his way back from injury, while Conor Thomas is struggling generally to get back up to speed, but the game time midweek will have done him no end of good.
Clive had a rest from the start against Cardiff, but was still able to cause problems when he was introduced in the second half. Thorn may go for the same ploy again, but I’m inclined to think he’ll revert to a Nimely/Clive partnership from the start for such a big home game.
Strangely, we’ve only played 3 of the current bottom 8 at home so far, with the rest coming in our final 4 matches at the Ricoh.
We’ve won all 3 of those games, with a 1-0 scoreline on every occasion.
I think we’ll do the same tomorrow. 1 – 0 again, por favor.