Experience should be key on Coventry City's transfer target list
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.
Having said that, there are occasions when veterans can make an impact, but it is all too often merely a short term fix.
I give you Dennis Wise as a perfect example, while Michael Hughes, although hampered by injuries, played a not insignificant part in City's relegation scrap last season once re-installed into the squad by Chris Coleman.
And Don Hutchison before them was the same, someone to put their foot on the ball, calm things down, play the right pass at the right time and keeping a cool head when the pressure is on.
Coleman talked about a lack of hunger, desire and mental toughness in his team on Saturday.
The first two qualities usually come hand in hand with youth but the latter only comes with experience and that is what appears to be lacking at the Ricoh right now.
While Coleman's policy of building a quality young side capable of making a sustained challenge should be applauded, it doesn't necessarily mean there isn't room for one or two older heads to help them develop and grow as a team that can produce results on a consistent basis.