After the frustration of a 0-0 stalemate versus a struggling Blackpool side on Saturday, the Sky Blues have an immediate chance to respond with 3 points against Rochdale. Tony Mowbray’s side have already travelled to Spotland once this season, losing on penalties in the Capital One Cup first round.
With that in their mind, Coventry will be gunning to gain some revenge with a victory this time around. A strong Dale side will provide tough opponents, however, and the away side will have to improve on the weekend’s showing if they want to cause issues.
Rochdale are in mixed form of late but they picked up a respectable point at the weekend following a 0-0 draw with high-flying Bury, leaving them in 10th position. In their last five league fixtures, including the trip to Gigg Lane, Keith Hill’s side have picked up 1 win, 3 losses and 1 draw.
In terms of their home fortunes, they have amassed 12 points from a possible 18 with 4 victories and losses on their own soil. This will give the Dale supporters boosted confidence and they’ll be expectant of a positive result against a Coventry side who have less effective on their travels thus far.
The Sky Blues go in to the game brimming with confidence as they sit in 5th place, the signing of ex-England international Joe Cole has also heightened the excitement around the club. His introduction has signalled the Sky Blues’ ambitions for the season and supporters will be hoping for a win to push them further up the league standings.
With a hard fought three points being claimed in their last away fixture at Fleetwood, Coventry will be looking to make it a duo of away wins on the spin. In their last five league encounters, the Midlands outfit have picked up 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss.
The home side will still be without defender Rhys Bennett for the clash as he’s nursing a hamstring injury. Another player set to be absent is Joe Rafferty after he was substituted in the opening half of the Bury match, he has had a scan on a stomach strain but results haven’t reached Keith Hill yet.
In terms of positives, Ian Henderson and Calvin Andrew both look set to return after both made the bench on Saturday. The pair were suffering with foot injuries but they’re now fully recovered. Callum Camps will also be welcomed back in to the fold after representing Northern Ireland U21’s.
Coventry City will still be without long term absentees James Maddison and Jordan Willis for the trip to Spotland, the pair have returned to light training, however. Young midfielder Ivor Lawton has also been ruled out for the season.
Reda Johnson is also sidelined after sustaining a hamstring injury at the weekend, the severity of the centre back’s problem is yet to be made public knowledge. The midfield pairing of Romain Vincelot and John Fleck will also be broken up for the first time after the latter received his fifth booking of the campaign versus Blackpool.
One player that could feature is Joe Cole who joined on loan from Aston Villa. The midfielder joined in with training this morning (Monday) and he’ll be hopeful of getting some minutes under his belt. It’s certainly something City supporters are looking excited about.
One To Watch – Ian Henderson
The 30 year old attacking midfielder is a key figure in Keith Hill’s side and he’ll be a potential thorn in Coventry’s side on Tuesday night. After joining Dale in the summer of 2013, he soon cemented his place in the team and he’s now a well respected player in the third tier.
He has clocked up 13 appearances so far this season and has managed to net 3 goals in that time, along with a solitary assist. Whilst the statistics don’t look overly impressive, the technical ability and attacking guile he possesses makes him a vital figure at Spotland.
“We know what to expect from them after playing them earlier in the season.”
“I’d have preferred to be going in with Reda Johnson because they can be direct at times, he would have given us an answer to that.”
“John Fleck is another huge miss because he’s the oil in our machine.”
View From The Opposition – Keith Hill:
“They’re all big games in League One. We fought hard to play football in League One and we shouldn’t get complacent with it. We should enjoy it and we’ve got to take on the challenges that opposition like Coventry pose.”
“I think Coventry a very good side and, in my opinion, they’ve got an outstanding Manager. It should be a good game and I’m looking forward to it.”
This game is one that will undoubtedly test a Sky Blues side that are stretched due to injuries and suspensions to key players. Let’s not make any bones about it, Rochdale are a good side and travelling there on a Tuesday night would be difficult by any means, even more so without Reda Johnson and John Fleck.
I agree with Mowbray, Rochdale do have a tendency to go direct by utilising Peter Vincenti – we saw this in the Capital One Cup tie. Not having Reda in our side could potentially be a huge downfall. His physical presence and ability to head away any aerial balls could be a big loss and the home side will look to exploit this.
With the assumption that Sam Ricketts will switch to the heart of the defence and Aaron Phillips will play on the right, we should have a strong enough back line to defend competently. John Fleck’s passing ability will be missing in the midfield but Bryn Morris clearly has quality, as does Joe Cole should he slot in there.
Scoring goals has been a real issue in our away fixtures recently, with only 2 goals in our last 4 on the road. Why is this the case? I believe it’s due to teams not allowing us as much time and space on the ball as they may at the Ricoh. We have to find a way to be as creative and effective on our travels.
I do fancy us to score in this fixture but I also expect Reice Charles-Cook to be beaten for the first time in the league. They have a good, talented group of players and they are very capable in attacking areas. It promises to be a good game of football between two strong sides, I can’t see past a draw but hopefully we can come home with the full monty.
My Score Prediction
Rochdale 1-1 Coventry City