After a defeat for the Sky Blues last time out against Walsall, Tony Mowbray’s side will be looking to get back to winning ways on Monday night when they welcome Southend United to the Ricoh Arena. It is a game that Coventry fans will be expecting to win, but The Shrimpers will be determined to pick up their first win in League One.
City’s home record thus far is perfect after victories against Wigan Athletic and Crewe Alexandra, so keeping that run going would be high on Mowbray’s agenda as he aims to make the Ricoh a fortress. A few injuries will force the manager’s hand in terms of changing personnel but will it effect the performance? Let’s hope we do enough to gain a victory and spoil Southend’s first trip to the stadium for a few years.
The Sky Blues come in to the game on the back of defeat at Walsall, but prior to that they had won all three of their fixtures in League One. The only other loss they’ve suffered came via a penalty shoot-out versus Rochdale in the Capital One Cup.
As it stands, City sit with 9 points from a possible 12 and a victory in this game in hand would propel them back up to 2nd place in the division.
Southend are yet to pick up a win in any competitions as they are finding early life in the third tier tough. Their away form is respectable however as Phil Brown’s side have picked up draws at Fleetwood and Doncaster, something which will give them confidence going in to Monday’s tie.
Defeats have been inflicted on them by Brighton (in the Capital One Cup), Walsall and Swindon however. The Shrimpers sit in the relegation places early on with a total of 2 points from the 12 on offer.
Coventry City will be without James Maddison and Jordan Willis for the foreseeable future as both of the academy graduates were ruled out with long-term injuries. The aforementioned suffered a fractured ankle and ligament damage in the game against Walsall whilst the latter had to undergo surgery on a knee inury.
Chris Stokes also had an injection during the week but Mowbray insists the defender will be fit for the tie. The rest of the squad is fit and available for selection as the Sky Blues search for three points.
The Shrimpers also have a couple of injuries within their squad as Adam Thompson and Cian Bolger are both sidelined with shoulder problems. Neither of the two featured in their side’s last fixture versus Swindon and Phil Brown has drafted in Glen Rea on a six-month loan from Brighton to provide a further defensive option.
The remainder of the squad at Brown’s disposal is fit and he has a number of players to choose from. He has also bolstered his side’s ranks with the signing of Stephen McLaughlin from Nottingham Forest, the winger was on loan at Roots Hall last season and he’ll add quality to the squad.
One to watch… David Worrall
The 25 year old right midfielder was a key player in the Southend promotion campaign of 2014/15 and he’ll be hoping to have a similar impact in League One this time around. After failing to make his mark whilst on the books of West Bromwich Albion, he was subsequently loaned out to Accrington and Shrewsbury before he joined Bury where enjoyed a fruitful four years at Gigg Lane.
He then joined Rotherham in 2013 but he was loaned out in the next transfer window with Oldham being his destination. Following the expiration of the loan period, Rotherham decided to release the wise man and he opted to join Southend. His pace and technical ability has excited supporters and he could be a potential danger for Coventry with his ability to score goals also.
View from the dugout…
“Our expectation is three points but you have to be respectful of the opposition, Southend are adapting to a new division but they have shown that they are up for the challenge.”
“They’re a very hard-working, well-drilled football team who went to Doncaster, a club who have also got big expectations, and got a 0-0. They are difficult to beat and I’m sure we will find that on Monday.”
“This is a very important game – if we can win it, that will be four out of five and I think we would all have taken that at the start of the season.”
“The challenge for us is to play our game, impose it on them. Our ambition is to try to make the Ricoh a fortress for all the opposition and we also want to make it good for the supporters who will hopefully be entertained by a good performance and three points.”
After the defeat against Walsall some supporters were feeling downbeat, and after the injuries to Maddison and Willis that mood deepened. However, I am still very optimistic and as Mowbray says, two players don’t make a team. It’s clear to see that we have a very small squad but this can work in your favour sometimes, and although I think we need a couple more fresh faces, we do have enough quality in our side.
Although I do expect us to win the game, I don’t think it will be a simple task as a resolute Southend side will do everything to deny us three points. In Phil Brown they have a superb manager who, like Mowbray, is well respected in the game. You’ve only got to look at his side’s away form to realise that they are organised, can we find a way to break through?
I can imagine that they’ll come looking for a point, so don’t be surprised if they line up a bank of bodies behind the ball when City are in possession. It’s a risky approach and I can’t see them thwarting the likes of Adam Armstrong and Ruben Lameiras, I can however see them scoring. Despite our absentees, I do think we possess enough quality to get a positive result.
My score prediction… Coventry City 2-1 Southend United