The Spireites of Chesterfield are the latest team to travel to the Ricoh Arena as they face Coventry City on Saturday. It didn’t prove to be a positive result last weekend as the Sky Blues were narrowly defeated by Paddy Madden’s solitary strike for Scunthorpe United.
After two away trips in succession, supporters will welcome a home fixture as Mowbray’s side remain unbeaten on their own soil. It won’t be a simple task however as Dean Saunders’ men have made a solid start to the League One campaign.
Coventry City have not been in the best of form following a tantalising opening few games, in the last 5 fixtures they have picked up 2 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses to amass only 7 points.
Despite this, the Sky Blues sit 4th in the League One standings and they remain the divisions leading scorers. A victory in this game could propel them up to 2nd so supporters will be excited prior to kick-off.
The Spireites have made a strong start to the 2015/16 also and they are positioned 7th with a total of 11 points. In the last 5 fixtures they have gained 2 victories, 2 draws and 1 loss to pick up 8 of those points.
Their away form has been inspirational thus far and Coventry must be alert to that, both of their away fixtures at Shrewsbury and Millwall have ended in victory and they’ll be eager to extend that sequence.
The Sky Blues have a mostly fit squad to choose from when they welcome Dean Saunders’ side and Ryan Kent could make his first start after his cameo appearance at Glanford Park following his loan move from Liverpool.
James Maddison and Jordan Willis remain long term absentees so they will be unavailable. In terms of returning personnel, Jim O’Brien is back in contention after being rested for last week’s tie.
Chesterfield could hand a debut to Chris Herd after the versatile utility man joined the club on a free transfer. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake could also make a return from a hamstring injury to bolster the side’s attacking prowess whilst Liam O’Neil is available after a lengthy spell out with a dislocated knee. Sam Hird is also in line for a return after recovering from a rib injury.
A few absentees are notable in the Spireites squad as Drew Talbot is serving a one match ban after seeing a straight red card in the game against Colchester. Angel Martinez remains unavailable too as he has been ruled out for the season after sustaining cruciate ligament damage.
One to watch – Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
After a productive five year spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers between 2008-2013, the physical forward has failed to build on such promise that saw him notch 61 goals in 177 appearances for the Midlands club.
Despite a tough time in the last few seasons, he has been offered a fresh start at Chesterfield and at the age of 29, it’s one he will be determined to take. He’s managed to score 2 goals in 5 appearances for the club so far and his pace and power could cause Coventry problems at the weekend.
View from the dugout:
“You’re going to experience setbacks throughout the season and Saturday was one of those. It looked like being a 0-0 all the way but we don’t need to overly concern ourselves really.”
“I think Chesterfield will come here and expand and play their game, a different type of game.
“We have a relatively full squad to choose from. They are a good group who have been enjoying their training.”
View from the opposition:
“Coventry are a good team with good players but so are we. We’re playing well and scoring goals so we’ve got nothing to fear.
“We’re aware of them and what they’ve got which is good players all over the pitch and a manager who has got them organised and kept them up last year.
“I’ve managed Marc-Antoine Fortune and Sam Ricketts before so know all about them and they’ve both played in the Premier League which shows the quality we’re up against.”
After last Saturday’s poor performance and disappointing result, we’ve got to up our game if we want to get any rewards from it. Chesterfield are a good side and they play slick, attractive football. They have a relatively well-equipped squad and their away form shows just how switched on they are on their travels.
Despite the obvious threat they pose, we are a good side and we have every chance of winning the game. I’m sure Mowbray will expect a reaction to last week’s defeat and as supporters, we do too. It simply wasn’t good enough and the test is now how we react.
I thought that we lacked Jim O’Brien’s energy at Glanford Park and he will be a welcome return this week as his industry will improve our chances. Another promising signing has been made also in Ryan Kent and I thought he made an impact off the bench in his first appearance.
Defensively, we need to wise up a little as a lot of the goals we are conceding of late are sloppy and easily avoidable. If we manage to stop leaking goals, we have enough in the final third to punish teams – although we didn’t show that at Scunthorpe. Let’s hope last weekend was just a blip and we can get back on track.
My score prediction:
Coventry City 2-1 Chesterfield