On Sunday the Sky Blues travel the short distance to the Pirelli Stadium to face League One new boys, Burton Albion. Both sides will be looking to build on their positive starts to the campaign and with two sets of vocal supporters, it promises to be a real atmospheric fixture.
Another large bank of travelling City supporters will be situated in the away end and they’ll be relishing the much-anticipated tie. Mowbray’s side will be determined to get back to winning ways but Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s Brewers provide stern opposition, it’s another tough test for sure.
The Brewers go in to the fixture on the back of a penalty shoot-out loss against Doncaster Rovers in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Despite being eliminated from both that competition and the Capital One Cup (after defeat versus Middlesbrough), Hasselbaink’s side will be brimming with confidence after making an immediate mark on in the third tier.
With 5 games played Burton sit in 3rd place after kicking off with 4 wins and 1 loss, accumulating 12 points. The victories came against Scunthorpe, Blackpool, Peterborough and Shrewsbury whilst a defeat was suffered at the hands of Barnsley.
Coventry City will also be in confident mood after making a good start to the season. A point was earned on Monday night against Southend at the Ricoh Arena and there was plenty of positives to pick from the game, which I’m sure Mowbray’s side will take in to Sunday’s tie.
Despite being knocked out of the Capital One Cup, the Sky Blues are riding high in League One also as they sit in 5th place with a total of 10 points from 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. After sitting top of the tree following victories against Wigan, Millwall and Crewe, defeat against Walsall and a draw against Southend has seen Coventry fall slightly down the league standings.
Burton Albion have a strong squad to choose from for the fixture as the international break hasn’t effected them greatly. Only one player has been called up to represent his country as Aurelien Joachim flies off with Luxembourg, two other players will be missing however as Zeli Ismail and Darius Charles are both sidelined with knee and leg injuries respectively.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is expected to make several changes to his side that faced Doncaster in midweek. After defeating Shrewsbury in their last league fixture, a similar starting eleven will undoubtedly be selected as they look for another success.
Expected Burton Albion lineup...
The Sky Blues will be without a total of six players when they travel to the Pirelli and Tony Mowbray will face a selection dilemma. James Maddison and Jordan Willis remain long-term absentees whilst Jack Finch also joins them on the injury table.
Three players are also away on international duty which squeezes the squad even further, Adam Armstrong and Bryn Morris have been selected for the England U19’s and U20’s squads whilst George Thomas will be representing Wales. One player who could feature is new signing Marc-Antione Fortune, the striker was signed on Friday to bolster City’s attacking options.
Expected Coventry City lineup…
One to watch… Abdenassser El khayati
The player who can either play as a winger or as a striker joined the club in January 2015 from Kozzaken Boys. After arriving at the Pirelli Stadium as a relatively unknown player, Burton fans would have been unsure as of what to expect. His speed and flair soon captured them however and he played a big part in last season’s promotion.
He’s made a great start to life in League One after scoring 3 goals in 5 games, including an impressive brace against Blackpool. The Sky Blues defence will have to be on top of their games to thwart the Netherlands-born attacker, I’m sure he will be gunning for more goals.
View from the home dugout…
“Burton are above us in the league, they’ve had a good start coming from the division below. They’ve had that confident bounce from promotion, away from home it’s a very tough game and they will be in buoyant mood.
“We have to go there and try to impose ourselves on them. They have obvious threats with a big centre-forward and wide players. They are a handful and have a good defensive block.”
The opposition’s thoughts…
“They have a long history, are a big club and they have started well. But every game is a big game and is important to us. We need to keep building on what we have done so far. That’s gone now and we need to keep moving forward and doing well. Sunday is an important match and another big step for us.”
Sunday will see us face the Brewers in league action for the first time and we’ll be looking to gain three points. There’s no doubting that it will be a tough fixture for us, and with the absence of numerous players, the task will be even more difficult.
Hasselbaink has got his side playing some great football and when I went to watch them versus Middlesbrough I was impressed. They have a lot of pace within the side and they like to keep the ball down, they could cause us some issues.
After our draw against Southend, there is plenty to work on. There was a host of positives too however and if we implement them and tighten up at the back, we are a force to be reckoned with.
With so many technically gifted players in both teams, it promises to be an entertaining, tightly-contested affair. I believe that with the attacking options we possess we could create a bundle of opportunities but a strong Burton defence will be tough to break down.
Before realising that we’d be without six players, I said that I’d take a point from the game. This feeling has now been strengthened and if we leave Burton with a draw I’d be very happy considering the circumstances.
My score prediction… Burton Albion 1-1 Coventry City