Coventry City will be hopeful of ending a run of two consecutive draws with a win when they travel to Swindon Town on Saturday. The Sky Blues played out a goalless draw with Rochdale on Tuesday night, it was a competent performance but Mowbray will be urging for more this time out.
With the Robins struggling in League One thus far, the bookies will be tipping the away side to reign supreme in this one. However, despite Swindon’s leaky defence, I can’t envision an easy game as their players will be determined to resurrect the early season woes.
Swindon have been in extremely poor form of late as the effect of losing a host of key players from the side that reached the playoffs last term is hitting hard. In their last five league fixtures they’ve only managed to pick up 1 draw and 4 losses and Mark Cooper subsequently lost his managerial post.
With their side sitting in 23rd position, supporters are getting frustrated at the County Ground. Home form has been a real issue so far and they’re yet to pick up a win on their own turf since the opening day when they thumped Bradford 4-1. The club seems to be going in a downwards spiral and they need to improve if they don’t want to be dragged in to a relegation scrap.
The Sky Blues are in a rich vein of form at the moment and they’ve kept 5 clean sheets in a row in all competitions. Tony Mowbray’s side currently sit in 4th place as they look to fight for promotion, another full set of points would certainly help their cause on Saturday.
In their last five league outings, Coventry have produced 3 wins and 2 draws to develop their strong start. Despite scoring freely in the early stages of the season, goals have started to dry up for the Sky Blues and they’ll be hoping to reignite their scoring touch as soon as possible.
The Robins will welcome back loanee defender Jordan Turnbull after he missed Tuesday’s defeat to Oldham due to suspension. As far as positives go, that’s about it for an injury-ridden Swindon squad. John Obika (ankle), Jermaine Hylton (foot) and Fabien Robert (ankle) could feature but they are all doubtful at the moment.
In terms of definite absentees the manager-less side will be missing 5 important players. Louis Thompson (knee), Nathan Thompson (groin), Wes Thomas (hamstring), Jordan Williams (knee) and Kevin Stewart (medial ligament damage) are all out.
Coventry City were handed a blow on Thursday when Reda Johnson’s hamstring injury was discovered to be more serious than initial thoughts, the defender is now likely to be out for the remainder of the season. Young midfielder Ivor Lawton is also sidelined for the entirety of the campaign with a knee injury.
Academy products Jordan Willis and James Maddison remain unavailable for selection but they’re both making steps towards recovery. Conor Thomas is also absent after receiving an injection for a hip problem. One positive for Mowbray, however, is that influential midfielder John Fleck will be returning after a suspension that ruled him out of Tuesday’s affair.
One To Watch – Yaser Kasim
The Iraq international midfielder has been an ever present in Swindon’s side so far this campaign and he’ll be one to keep an eye on on Saturday. After moving to England and progressing through the youth ranks at Tottenham Hotspur, Kasim failed to make the grade and he was released in 2010. Brighton & Hove Albion proved his next destination but he never made a mark for the Seagulls.
After loan spells at Luton Town and Macclesfield Town, he hooked up with Swindon Town in the summer of 2013. It was this move that sparked his footballing career and he imposed himself well at the County Ground to cement a place in the side. A total of 38 appearances were clocked up last season by the midfielder and he’s featured in the majority of the Robins’ games this term. His combative but controlled style of play could cause Coventry some problems, the 24 year old is relishing the changes at Swindon and he’s determined to impress.
“They’ve got a philosophy of how they want to play and reading some of their chairman’s recent comments that’s what they’re trying to reinforce and build.”
“I didn’t see them last year but everyone at our football club tells me how they played against us in the televised game.”
“They have had a lot of change, of course, a lot of players have moved on but they haven’t changed their style.”
“We understand that at times they might have a bit of the ball and we might have to be organised and disciplined and hopefully show some of the qualities we’ve used in recent weeks. And if the opportunities come along we’ll hopefully be a bit more ruthless than we have been.”
“I’m expecting a cagey game, another tight game but hopefully we’ll come out on top.”
View From The Opposition – Lee Power
Power spoke about Swindon’s attacking threat after the defeat to Oldham on Tuesday night:
“It didn’t happen often enough that’s why we got beat. We need to see more of those actions. We’ve got a few people to come back hopefully on Saturday who are a bit more used to playing that style. We can’t hide our disappointment because we need the points. “
I said before the Rochdale game that 4 points from the next 2 games would be sufficient enough to keep us in mix at the top end. This means that a win is now required after we picked up a point on Tuesday, and with the turmoil at Swindon we are expected to prevail.
The Swindon supporters are in dull mood and they won’t be expecting anything, especially with all their injuries. There is a danger however, this could work in their favour. No expectation means less pressure and this could enable the home side to play with a little more freedom, although they’ll be very conscious of conceding goals.
Despite City’s recent poor form in front of goal, I can see us carving open the Robins on Saturday to secure a welcome away win. At the back, losing Reda Johnson is clearly a huge blow but we showed on Tuesday that we are capable enough without him in the side. His physicality will be missing of course, but Sam Ricketts alongside the ever-improving Aaron Martin fills me with enough confidence.
The returning John Fleck will make a massive difference too, that lad is the metronome in the Sky Blues’ midfield. With Joe Cole sitting in front of him, it’s a mouthwatering prospect that should spark fear in any League One opposition. We were lacking the Scotsman’s creativity on Tuesday but it will be noticeable at the weekend.
I would be tempted to stick with the same side that featured in midweek, apart from replacing Bryn Morris with Fleck and maybe O.Brien with Kent. Another large away following is expected with over 1,300 tickets already being sold. I and many others will be hoping for an entertaining and productive display. Swindon have the potential to produce a good performance too though and we’ve got to respect them – it’s not a foregone conclusion.
My Score Prediction
Swindon Town 1-2 Coventry City