August 2008 Archives
BRISTOL CITY Gary Johnson says he can't wait to end Coventry City's unbeaten start to the season.
The Robins boss wants a repeat of last September, when City inflicted Coventry's first defeat of the season with a resounding 3-0 victory.
He told the Bristol Evening Post: "They always seem to start well in the opening games of the season and we always have to go there to knock them off the top.
"But it's always nice that we are going there to knock them off, that we are always that close and it would be good to get the results that we've got previously.
"We'll certainly settle for less than that so long as we win.
"Coleman's a good manager, he'll have them playing some good football judging from the reports."
CHRIS COLEMAN is expecting his toughest challenge of the season to date when pacesetting Sky Blues face Bristol City at the Ricoh Arena tomorrow.
But the Coventry boss has played down suggestions that it will be a needle match if, as expected, Michael Mifsud lines up against the side he seemed certain to join two weeks ago.
The collapse of the ÃÂ£1.5 million deal annoyed Coleman and infuriated opposite number Gary Johnson who blasted the Maltese striker's "unprofessional" behaviour.
But Coleman, poised to name a sameagain team against the Robins because of continuing concerns about Stephen Wright's Achilles tendon, insisted: "I hope it doesn't add an edge to the game if Michael starts - it shouldn't because for me that's all done and dusted.
"He will have to go into the game with a free mind and do a good job for the team like he did against Aldershot and Barnsley.
"He's got nothing to prove to anybody - he's just got to concentrate on helping us to get three points."
Teenager Aron Gunnarsson is set to retain his role as an emergency rightback, with Jay Tabb remaining in the centre of midfield and Mifsud continuing on the right wing.
OH dear. Dion Dublin booked Shay Given's permanent place in the countless football blooper programmes with this comical goal.
You've gotta feel for Shay. At the start of the clip, he pulls off an outstanding catch which the likes of David James can only dream of doing.
Then, he suffers his very own "Ronnie Rosenthal" moment, by dropping the ball while the Sky Blues' forward is still behind him.
And anyone who claims Dublin was offside should perhaps read the rules. And get a life. Or maybe just go back to watching Sex and the City.
MICHAEL DOYLE is determined to win back his place in the Coventry City midfield.
And the workaholic Irishman is confident that he is almost back to prime fitness after coming through Tuesday's full-scale practice match against Aston Villa unscathed.
Doyle put off two operations at the end of last season to play his part in the club's relegation battle.
The delayed surgery forced him to miss the start of the current campaign but now the 27-year-old is hoping to play a part in the Sky Blues' two home games in four days - Bristol City in the Championship on Saturday and Newcastle United in the Carling Cup on Tuesday.
"I had a couple of problems last season and the specialist said I would need to get them sorted out," explained Doyle, "but I spoke to the management and we decided that I would delay the operations until we were safe from relegation.
"It never really worked out as it went right to the last day of the season - but to be honest the club needed every player at its disposal because of the situation we were in so I was happy to do that.
BACK in the 1940s football was a far cry from the modern game, both on and off the pitch.
Coventry City centre-forward Jack Evans and his contemporaries - the likes of Ted Roberts, Stan Smith, Trevor Lewis, Ken Jones and Charlie Timmins - enjoyed a decent living and way of life while it lasted.
But as the now 82-year-old revealed: "When I left Coventry in 1952 I signed for Nuneaton Borough and started work at the Daimler as an engineer and doubled my wages overnight.
"I used to get ÃÂ£10 a week in the second team which was not a bad wage in those days compared to other jobs, but it dropped significantly during the close season which used to be three months.
"So, during the summer a lot of us used to get part time jobs to keep us going and I worked in the offices at Highfield Road and me and Ted Roberts used to make and pack butter locally as well."
Roberts was the club's first choice centre-forward and limited Evans to eight first team games during his six years, although he was a prolific goal scorer in the reserves, regularly notching between 15-18 a season.
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DECEMBER 1997. Darren Huckerby weaves through the Manchester United back-line to score one of the greatest goals at Highfield Road.
It's a wee bit grainy but what a goal. My Huckerby, we salute you.
CHRIS COLEMAN has been given the all-clear to strengthen his Coventry City squad before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
City were forced to draft in teenager midfielder Aron Gunnarsson at rightback at Barnsley on Saturday when summer recruit Stephen Wright suffered an Achilles problem.
The last-minute reshuffle exposed a gap in the Sky Blues resources, Coleman admitting that while he has several options on the left he is short of right-flank options.
But chairman Ray Ranson has confirmed that cash is available if Coleman decides he needs reinforcements in that area.
"We speak on a daily basis discussing scenarios to improve the squad," he said.
"We are constantly reviewing the situation and there's a few names he's mentioned so we will have to see."
Ranson and Coleman are both keen to free up cash by shipping out players who have little chance of forcing their way into the current first team.
"We'd like to reduce the size of the squad," confirmed Ranson.
"The manager has said on numerous occasions that he wants to trim it down to the low 20s but with a lot more quality, so from that point of view we'd like to move a few on."
MARCUS HALL - Sky Blues' longest-serving player - is desperate to play a part in City's next two vital games at the Ricoh Arena.
The 32-year-old defender has missed the first three matches of the season after injuring his foot in training but is hoping to be fit for Saturday's Championship game against Bristol City on Saturday and the Carling Cup tie with Newcastle next Tuesday.
Hall is confident the Sky Blues will have a much improved season after struggling to establish themselves in the division in the seven years since relegation.
"We had good starts but things were happening behind the scenes and that did not help," he said. "But things are very different now.
"The new chairman has come in, there has been investment and if the manager finds the right players to strengthen he will be backed with funds.
"I think we definitely have the best squad since we have been in this division.
"The players brought in by the manager are of a higher quality and the squad seems stronger in all areas and that bodes well.
"There are also a good number of young players. I am 32 and I am the oldest outfield player at the club so we are clearly assembling a group of young players who will develop together."
WALSALL skipper Stephen Hughes says the offer of a new contract with Coventry City was withdrawn this summer.
Hughes, ex-Arsenal and Everton, was Coventry skipper last season which, with a new contract on the table, looked like an action replay this year.
But he said: "I was offered a new deal, went away for the summer and got a phone call saying its not there any more.
"I was disappointed but it is one of those things that happens in football and I was on the lookout for a new club. I don't know how it happened. But I don't hold a grudge, I thoroughly enjoyed it and here I am.
"I had a pre-season with Nottingham Forest and enjoyed myself there. The manager wanted to sort out a contract but that never came to anything."
COVENTRY CITY boss Chris Coleman today praised Julian Gray after the winger hit the winner in the Sky Blues' 2-1 win against Barnsley.
The former Birmingham City midfielder came up with the winning goal in a commanding performance at Oakwell.
It was a personal triumph for the left-winger, coming three minutes after a wildly miscued cross had prompted the travelling fans to demand the introduction of Leon McKenzie.
And Coleman was delighted with his contribution.
"It was a great finish," he said, "and I was delighted for Julian because I always had it in mind to change both wingers, him and Michael Mifsud, in the second half.
"I said to the players 'look, we've got a bench full of forwards so give us what you've got and if you blow up with 20 minutes to go we'll make changes.'
"Julian and Michael did a terrific job for us defensively - our shape was much better today - and I thought it was great for Julian to get the winner and receive a standing ovation from our fans as he came off the pitch.
"To be fair, I don't think the fans were booing him so much as singing for Leon because The Duke is a very popular player."