We travel the short distance to Meadow Lane on Monday for a bank holiday fixture that will be deemed as a six-pointer by both teams. After our dissapointing loss to Leyton Orient on Wednesday night we’ll be looking to bounce back and pick up another three points on our travels.
The last time we played the Magpies was on the 15th November at the Ricoh, the fixture ended 1-0 in the away sides favour. A lot has changed since then though. County sat 4th in the division that day…fast forward a few months and they lie 21st and in the relegation places. This slide down the league lead to the subsequent dismissal of Shaun Derry, and the exact same thing happened at the Sky Blues as we all know Pressley was relieved of his duties.
Both teams are now fighting for survival in SkyBet League One with only a handful of games remaining. The game will either be really exciting and full of goals as both teams go for the win or nervy and tight. But as us City fans know, all that matters is that we leave with a win… Who cares about the performance? Look at Orient, they were arguably the poorest side we’ve hosted at the Ricoh but they dug in and somehow got three points. We need to do that. The Nottingham side have a home record similar to ours which should give us some optimism, but our record at Meadow Lane isn’t too impressive. Let’s change that!
Notts County are without a win in their last six games but they have picked up three draws, two of which have came from their last two fixtures versus Scunthorpe and Walsall respectively. This leaves them with a record of 0 wins, 3 draws and 3 losses which amounts to 3 points from a possible 18. That is certainly relegation form, but this will be driving them to react and find that winning formula against us as I can only imagine they’ll see it as a winnable game.
City aren’t in exceptional form either by any means, but it’s substantially better than County’s. The Sky Blues have won 3, drew 1 and lost 2 of their last six, amounting to 10 points from a possible 18. Despite this reasonable run, we still only find ourselves 2 points above Notts County who also have a game in hand. This is another incentive for us to win. Lose and we are in deep trouble.
Notts County have no fresh injury problems going in to the game versus the Sky Blues. Ronan Murray, Curtis Thompson and Taylor McKenzie remain sidelined for the Magpies, but they have a fully fit squad to choose from otherwise.
Caretaker Managers Paul Hart and Mick Halsall may decide to make changes to the team that started v Walsall on Friday though as they escaped a poor performance with a share of the spoils, the game ending in a 0-0 stalemate. Liam Noble and Alan Smith will be hoping to be reinstated in the side, with other options coming in the form of Nicky Wroe, Mike Edwards, Balint Bajnet and former City man Blair Adams.
Coventry City were dealt a huge blow earlier in the week when it was announced that on-loan striker, Dominic Samuel, would miss the rest of the season due to a fractured ankle. Marcus Tudgay will also be unavailable which leaves the Sky Blues a little short in the attacking third. This could pave the way for a Nick Proschwitz return to the side, the on-loan Brentford man is yet to score for the club.
On a positive note for City, Reda Johnson is finally edging towards match fitness after tearing a muscle two months ago. The Benin international played 45 minutes for the Under 21’s on Thursday and he will undoubtedly be in the squad for the trip to Meadow Lane. James Maddison also returned from a back problem which had kept the youngster out for three months. The attacking Midfielder may also start on the bench for Mowbray’s side.
It’s another one of those games that will put our squads mentality and ability to the test. I’ve questioned our bottle for a while with so much inexperience in the side, but we’ve looked a bit more dogged since Mowbray took over. Our fate is fully in our own hands as we take on four teams that are in and around us in our last six fixtures of the campaign. If we win those games we stay up… Simple. Notts County, Colchester, Crewe and Crawley all look like winnable games but you just don’t know with football – especially as a Coventry fan.
The main worry for me now is where the goals are going to come from. Obviously we’ve lost Dominic Samuel who was our main threat going forward, but certain players have to stand up and be counted now. I think we have enough quality going forward to trouble teams, we’ve just got to find a way to score goals. Maybe it’s time for Frank Nouble to step up? He’s a player that oozes talent, but it’s his inconsistency that frustrates us fans. On his day he looks a right handful for any defender in this division, but he has a tendency to go missing too. If he can bang a few goals in from now until the end of the season, alongside other players such as Sanmi Odelusi and Blair Turgott, then I’m confident we can stay up… But we’ve got to kill teams off.
Our defence is also susceptible to mistakes, just look at the Orient game where we dominated but lost due to one lack of concentration at the back. But again, we would of been three or four goals up if we’d been clinical. We have defended admirably in a few fixtures though, remarkably so for such a young back line. Mowbray has undoubtedly brought some structure and organisation to the side and I hope this will stand us in good stead. Game management is key now, we can only take it game by game and three points on Monday would be very welcome. Of course our home form is a major concern, but another win on the road will only give us confidence before we face Colchester and Oldham in succession at the Ricoh.
I think we have enough to get a result tomorrow. Notts County’s home form is poor so this should give us some hope, especially with our away run. At the same time they’ll be wanting to stop us in our tracks though. It’s a real six-pointer. If we do lose then I really fear for our status in this league, but let’s not think about that! Hopefully us large band of travelling supporters will be the 12th Man again as we were at Peterborough… We need this!
My prediction for the game is Notts County 1-1 Coventry City… Let’s hope it’s better than that though!