November 2008 Archives
STEPHEN Wright's return to fitness couldn't come at a better time for Coventry City.
Criticised for complacency in their recent 2-0 defeat by Crystal Palace at the Ricoh Arena just days after beating second placed Birmingham away from home, the Sky Blues youthful looking squad appears to be lacking experience in their ranks to help the team dig in when the going gets tough.
Manager Chris Coleman is actively scouring the loan market for suitable leaders, but defender Wright might just provide the influence that was sadly lacking in that dismal display against the Eagles.
"There are only five or six of us in the squad aged 28 or over so maybe we need a bit more experience," said the 28-year-old right-back who has been out for almost three months with a partial tear of his left Achilles.
But after coming through 65 minutes of his second reserve game - a 2-1 defeat at Wolves - and the 1-0 away win at Sheffield Wednesday, the former Liverpool player can finally see light at the end of the tunnel.
"It's been a nightmare to be honest and the worst injury I have ever had," he said.
"I joined the club for a fresh start and it has been frustrating, especially when I have been unable to help the lads out.
''It came at the worst possible time for me but I am getting closer and hopefully I can make the squad in the next week or two."
Wright signed for City on a free transfer from Sunderland in the summer, bringing an end to five years in the North-east.
Although surplus to requirements at the Stadium of Light, the full-back put himself in the shop window with an impressive three-month loan spell with Stoke last season where he helped pave the way for the Potters' promotion to the Premier League.
STEPHEN WRIGHT took another step towards returning to full fitness as Coventry City reserves lost out to a late goal in a friendly match at Wolves.
The Sky Blues defender played 65 minutes of the game at Wanderers' training ground, coming off at 1-1 after a Robbie Simpson penalty had pulled City level shortly after half time, before a strong Wolves side, that included a number of first teamers including forward Andy Keogh, secured victory towards the end.
Wright, who joined City on a free transfer from Sunderland in the summer, is desperate to get back to first team action following almost three months out with an Achilles injury, but admits there is never a day goes by when it doesn't feel sore.
"It's just one of those things that I am going to have to live with," said the 28-year-old who played 90 minutes in the reserves last week as well.
"I have spoken to a lot of people who have had Achilles injuries and they all seem to say it is never the same again.
"But you just have to keep doing the exercises, getting massages and it is just a case of managing it from now on.
"It is the worst injury I have ever had and it is particularly disappointing because I have just joined a new club and it is a fresh start for me.
"I had a good pre-season and I want to be playing and showing the fans that I am a good player who wants to help the club progress and do well in this league.
"But hopefully I am getting there now.
"My general fitness is good and that's never been a problem for me, and now it is just a case of getting games in and getting my sharpness back.
"Hopefully, I can force my way into the squad in the next couple of weeks and see where we go from there."
Manager Chris Coleman, who revealed that Leon McKenzie is 10 days away from his first reserve game, said: "Wrighty has got a good chance of making the squad but I will see how he reacts after the reserve game because he is still a bit sore."
THE TROUBLE with young sides is that they often lack leadership and the sort of experienced heads to pull players around them up by their boot laces.
Apart from Clinton Morrison, who does lead from the front, Coventry City do lack an experienced figure, particularly in the heart of the midfield who can assert himself on a game and lift those around him on a consistent basis.
Aron Gunnarsson has led by example on the odd occasion - his performance at Sheffield United being a prime example - but, understandably, at just 19 he has not done it week in, week out.
Southampton have shown with their current enforced youth policy that nice passing football and athleticism is not enough to get you through in the Championship, and they continue to struggle, their latest defeat coming at home to Bristol City on Saturday.
Birmingham, on the other hand, have got 34-year-old Lee Carsley driving his team-mates on from the middle of the park.
Although Blues are having a bit of a wobble, they remain second top and the former Everton and Sky Blues player has been a revelation at St Andrews since joining the club in the summer.
While not suggesting City go down the route of bringing in old heads in the last throes of their careers, they could perhaps benefit from a bit more experience.
And by that I mean players in their late 20s or very early 30s rather than the 37-year-old Arjan de Zeeuws who turned out to be a huge disappointment.
ELDERLY shoppers chase him down supermarket aisles brandishing frozen peas and football fans heckle him from the terraces of Coventry City FC.
This is life now for Coronation Street star Graeme Hawley, who's at the centre of a dramatic soap storyline.
He plays teacher-turned-cabbie John Stape who in a moment of madness kidnapped 17-year-old Rosie Webster and kept her locked in the attic for weeks.
He blamed her for destroying his life, after the schoolgirl seduced him and led to the loss of his job and his relationship with girlfriend Fiz Brown.
When the mouthy teen started taunting him, he lost his temper, bundled her into his cab and drove her to his late grandmother's house where he's kept her captive in the attic flat.
Last week Fiz discovered his secret and John was arrested but it's not the last we'll see of him.
Graeme, who grew up in Hinckley, Leicestershire, and is a Coventry City FC season ticket-holder, insists he's not a villain.
"He hasn't harmed Rosie," says the friendly 34-year-old.
"Most viewers are friendly when they see me, though I've had drunken blokes shouting 'Leave Rosie alone!' and old ladies chasing me down the aisles in Tesco. Fortunately they've never caught me, so I've avoided a battering with frozen peas!
"The funniest moment was at the football the other week. I tend to get irate and was shouting at the ref, who'd made a few bad decisions, when someone called out 'Go on John, kidnap him!'.
"I think John is essentially a good man. When we were filming the scenes in the attic, the director kept saying he felt sorry for him.