As always at the end of the season, a lot of players are let go by their respective clubs. This allows other sides to come in for them and acquire their services on a free transfer, something in which Mowbray will very much be needing to do over the next month or so as he weighs up his options.
With a paper-thin squad to date, and one that is very youthful, the gaffer will be looking to sign a number of players before pre-season gets underway. I put myself in Mowbray’s shoes for a while, and you can see eight players that I would sign here…
1. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
The Striker was released by League One champions Bristol City at the end of the 2014/15 campaign, and I am sure that he will be a player that attracts a lot of interest. He began his footballing career at Arsenal and he progressed through their youth setup, a bright prospect.
He enjoyed winning the FA Youth Cup in 2009 after scoring in every round of the competition. After impressing for the reserves he then made his full debut versus a Stoke in the FA Cup 4th round on 24th January 2010. Arsene wenger stated “When his fitness is right, Jay will be not only a good player but a great player.”
Unfortunately he didn’t quite fulfil his potential and after various loan spells he joined Ipswich in 2011 where he scored 8 goals in 71 appearances. He then switched clubs again as he joined Bristol City in 2013 and he scored 24 goals in 82 games for the club.
He now finds himself without a club and I think he could be a very astute acquisition should Mowbray sign the physical forward. He can play either in the centre or out wide and I feel this versatility could come in handy. He hasn’t perhaps been the most prolific of strikers recently, but with a consistent run in the side I believe he could be the 20 goal striker we are looking for.
2. Michael Doyle
Sky Blues fans will know of this man as he played for Coventry 264 times before leaving the Ricoh Arena. We’ve been crying out for a tough tackling midfielder for a while now and who better to call than this man? A familiar face could be what’s needed now, and as a former fan favourite, Doyle would be high on my priority list.
He was released by Sheffield United at the end of last season and he hasn’t ruled out a move back to the Midlands. I’d certainly sign him, we need that bit of bite and he would bolster our midfield. His experience could be vital too, at 33 years old he’s been in and around the game long enough to know what it’s all about.
“I’m still ambitious and wherever I end up I want to be successful and challenging. I have got plenty of options and have to find what’s best for me.” Said Doyle.
He added, “I was at Coventry a long time and it means a lot to me so if the opportunity came to speak to the manager I would be interested. I still live in the area but, for me, it would be all about success because the next place I want to go to I want to be challenging to get out of the division.”
3. Dominic Blizzard
The 29 year old is another player I would be willing to take a punt on after his departure from Plymouth Argyle. He is a player that is known for his passing capabilities and he is also versatile as he can play anywhere across the midfield. Defensively he is fairly solid and he is skilled going forward too…he could be a good addition.
I know some people look down on signing players from lower divisions, but I think he would relish the chance to show he’s capable of performing at a higher level. My eye had been on Ruben Reid and Dominic Blizzard last season and they both looked like players that could do a job for us. Now the latter is available, I would go out and sign him, I’m sure he would very much like to join us. He’s played at League One standard before with Yeovil as he made an impressive 54 appearances in their promotion season back in 2012/13.
4. Craig Mackail-Smith
The striker was let go by Brighton at the end of the campaign and he is another player that will attract interest. He’s a player that isn’t afraid to run at defenders and his scoring record is quite impressive too, as he has way over 100 career goals to his name.
Mackail-Smith managed to rack up 35 goals for Peterborough during the 2010–11 season in League One. The 35 goals that he scored during that season made him the most prolific scorer in England for the season and also bagged him the coveted prize of Football League One Player of the Year Award.
Now he is available on a free, wages could be an issue but if we could negotiate with him he would be a great signing. His goalscoring ability is something that is desperately needed at Coventry, and he has the attributes to do very well in this league again.
5. Martin Cranie
Another familiar face to us City fans is Martin Cranie, and he also available on a free as Barnsley have parted company with the 28 year old defender. He came through the coveted Southampton academy, playing with the likes of Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott.
He is a very versatile defender as he provides cover across the back line, and with premier league experience, he would be seen as a good signing. Whilst at the Sky Blues, Cranie made 114 appearances and a return would be welcomed by the majority of the Coventry faithful.
With conceding sloppy goals still a problem of ours, signing the defender would be a good move in my eyes as a partnership with Reda Johnson would provide a formidable force. I think he’d be open to a move back to the Ricoh, it’s just whether Mowbray sees him as the correct fit.
6. Jacques Maghoma
The wide man left Sheffield Wednesday at the end of 2014/15 campaign and is now available on a free transfer. Wages may provide a stumbling block, but he is a player I would like to see in a Sky Blue shirt next season.
He progressed through the Tottenham Hotspur youth setup after joining the club in 2003. Despite showing early signs of potential, then manager Harry Redknapp released the winger in the summer of 2009 and he went on to join Burton Albion a month later. He made 155 appearances during his four year spell with the Brewers, scoring 26 goals in the process, along with being named in the League Two team of the year in 2013.
His pace and power then alerted Sheffield Wednesday and he signed for the Yorkshire side in June 2013. Two years were spent at the club before he was released this summer, and with the Sky Blues lack of threatening wing play last season, Maghoma may well fit the bill as Mowbray looks to implement an attacking style of play.
Wages would probably be the real issue here, but if he was promised first team football maybe he would be tempted to drop to League One level. He’s enjoyed an illustrious career in which he has represented teams such as Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Everton in the Premier League.
He could have a similar impact to what Emile Heskey and Eidur Gudjohnsen did at Bolton last season, and his physical attributes are very much suited to the third tier of English football. I wouldn’t start him in every game, but he would give us an extra option off the bench.
8. Stephen Bywater
We are in need of an experienced goalkeeper in my opinion to fight Lee Burge for the number one spot. I would give the young Coventry ‘keeper chance to start next season, but I believe Bywater would be a good addition to help push Burge to his full potential.
The experienced stopper has been released by Doncaster Rovers and he would be a good bit of business on a free in my view. With only Riece Charles-Cook being backup goalkeeper at the minute, a little bit of experience in that role is needed and Bywater certainly has that. With over 300 appearances to his name, he could be a good signing at the level we are playing at.
Please note – these are free agents only (at the time of writing). I will also do a seperate post as to who I would sign with a bit of cash!