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CHRIS COLEMAN believes his Coventry City backline is one of the best in the business - despite being one of the youngest in the Championship.
The Sky Blues defence took a battering against QPR on Saturday - but held firm for a superb 1-0 victory against the big-spending Londoners.
Coleman was delighted with the result, which took his side to eighth place in the Championship, and hailed the contribution of his back four and goalkeeper Keiren Westwood.
He told the club's official site: ""If we're going to do well in this league we are going to have games like that where you've got to grind it out.
"Most people could see what the three points meant to the players after the game."
MIDFIELD hardman Aron Gunnarsson says his long throws come from an unsual source - handball.
The Icelandic teenager has been joined by his mum as he settles in England after his summer move from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.
But Gunnarsson's father remains back in Iceland and if he had his way then that's where his son would still be - playing handball.
The youngster played handball between the ages of four and 15 for Thor, the same local club as his dad.
Gunnarsson pinpoints his days playing handball, a popular Scandinavian sport, as the reason behind the technique that allows him to bombard the box with his monstrous throws that have bought goals for
teammates Scott Dann and Jay Tabb in recent weeks.
The Sky Blue battler, who was unaware of his fellow famous wanger Rory Delap at Stoke, also insists that he was better at handball than he was at football.
His father, who made over 500 appearances as a semi-pro for Thor, wanted his son to continue in his chosen sport but Gunnarsson admits that he had to opt for football because he found handball too easy.
THEY say that a decent goalkeeper can be worth at least 10 points over the course of a season, and in Keiren Westwood Coventry City appear to have a player capable of making such a contribution.
He has already made a string of impressive saves in his seven games to date, but his commanding display against QPR on Saturday showed that he has got pretty much everything in his locker.
Taking crosses bravely in the box, Westwood is arguably the safest pair of hands City have had since Steve Ogrizovic was in his pomp and more than playing his part in keeping the club in the top flight year in, year out.
City's young defence also did well at the weekend when under the cosh, but to have a good keeper behind them must do their confidence the world of good, knowing that on the occasions the opposition do get through - as Emmanuel Ledesma did in a one on one at the weekend - that he is capable of making the save.
He was billed as one of the best young keepers outside the Premier League when he joined the club from Carlisle in the summer, and he has certainly lived up to that reputation so far.
The problem, of course, is that the more successful he is at Coventry then the more he will be a wanted man elsewhere.
Portsmouth's Tony Adams and West Brom boss Tony Mowbray were both at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday.
That's not to say they were there to watch Westwood in particular, but he will no doubt have impressed them while scouts throughout the country will be aware of his talents, as they will the likes of Scott Dann and Danny Fox who also fit into the rising star category.
So keeping hold of players of that quality may well become a problem in the future and let's just hope City can enjoy their services long enough for them to help bring the club the success it has been desperately lacking in recent years.
COVENTRY City boss Chris Coleman was hit hard in the pocket last week.
The FA fined the former Fulham manager ÃÂ£5,000 following his behaviour towards referee Phil Dowd during
the Sky Blues' 3-0 defeat to Bristol City last month.
Coleman said that he was relieved that he wasn't handed a touchline ban as well.
However somebody is still going to feel the knock-on effect from the welshman's lighter wallet.
He won't be taking out his frustrations on his Coventry troops either, it will be his dear old family who will be
left cursing the FA's punishment.
"I'll just tell the children that we won't be going on a holiday next summer," admitted Coleman.
ARON Gunnarsson has brought his mum back from Iceland - to do his cooking and cleaning!
The Coventry City catapult, known for his huge throw-ins, is a tough tackling teenager who has developed a reputation as a hardman on the pitch but he's revealed a softer side away from football - one that craves
Gunnarsson, 19, is already a hit at the Ricoh Arena having quickly become a key cog in Chris Coleman's Sky Blues machine but the Iceland international needed a helping hand to settle into life away from home.
Footballers may usually be eager to keep their street cred intact but mum's the word for Gunnarsson.
That's because the midfielder drafted his beloved mother Jona into his Leamington Spa pad just over a week ago to tend to his every needs.
The summer signing from AZ Alkmaar believes that having his mum at home rather than back in Iceland will help him resist the temptation of turning to unhealthy takeaways.
IT was as if time had stood still for former Coventry City manager Iain Dowie.
Dowie was sacked by the Sky Blues in February after a stint blighted by matches where he felt his team deserved more than the results suggested.
And, on his first return to the club yesterday as manager of QPR, he was once again certain that his players were unlucky to be on the wrong end of defeat.
If truth be told, the visitors were on top throughout the second half and could easily make a case for deserving a point from the fixture.
But Chris Coleman's Coventry stood firm and held onto the win which came courtesy of centre-back Elliott Ward's 13th minute penalty.
Ward's performance in defence was equally important for his manager - particularly as the last 20 minutes became a backs-to-the-wall job.
He and skipper Scott Dann stood firm and both Dowie and Coleman heaped praise on the pair.
Coleman said: "We sometimes forget that our eldest defender is 23.
"They showed great team spirit and it would have been easy for them to crumble when they were under that sort of pressure.
"The second half felt like 90 minutes. We did exactly the opposite of what we had spoken about at half time.
"We tried to defend a one-goal lead - which was partly down to fatigue and partly down to nerves.
IAIN DOWIE insists he has 'no regrets' about his spell in charge of Coventry as he prepares to return there with QPR tomorrow.
The Rangers boss was sacked last February after almost exactly a year in charge, during which he guided them to memorable cup wins at Manchester United and Blackburn.
But Dowie, who has reassembled his Coventry backroom team - assistant Tim Flowers and performance manager John Harbin - at Loftus Road, feels his record at the Ricoh Arena stands up to scrutiny.
"I look back on my time at Coventry with no regrets, but other people come in and they've got their own ideas, which is fair enough," he said.
"I had a great time there and I was very pleased with the job I did, given that the club were on the verge of administration a couple of times and the players weren't being paid.
"We staved off relegation, which was a real danger at one stage, and then the cup runs the following season were fantastic. To go to Manchester United in the Carling Cup and win 2-0 was incredible and we should have beaten West Ham in the next round as well.
"To have 11,000 fans shouting for us at Old Trafford was something special - and I'll be hoping for the same from the QPR fans when we go to Aston Villa next week.
"Some of the players we brought in have done really well - Leon Best, Dan Fox and Scott Dann, for instance - and I think they've got a good squad now.
"Chris Coleman's a very good friend of mine and I'm sure he'll do well there. I had a good relationship with the Coventry supporters and I'm looking forward to going there on Saturday, as we all are.
"We need to make sure we're difficult to beat and if we play with the same tenacity we've shown in our last two away games, I'm sure we'll get a result."
SHEFFIELD UNITED defender Sun Jihai has been charged with improper conduct by the FA for his reaction to being shown a red card for his tackle on Michael Mifsud in Tuesday's 1-1 draw against the Sky Blues.
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COVENTRY CITY'S surplus players are costing the club dear as they sit back and take their wages.
The trio of Kevin Kyle, Chris Birchall and Gary Borrowdale must be costing the Sky Blues in excess of ÃÂ£20,000 a week between them.
The situation is not good for anyone, not least the players themselves who are wasting valuable time in their relatively short careers.
Now, one doesn't know exactly how proactive the players are being in trying to find themselves clubs to go out on loan to, but there must surely be plenty of managers willing to take them.
The big wages may well put many chairmen off, but with City desperate to off-load them, no doubt they will be prepared to come to some sort of arrangement, as they have with Hartlepool and Leyton Orient who have expressed an interest in Kyle on the basis that they can only pay part of his ÃÂ£8,000 a week wages.
The former Sunderland player has come in for a great deal of stick over the amount he earns but, to be fair to the centre-forward, if City's previous regime were stupid enough to agree to pay that much the player can't be blamed for getting the best possible deal for him and his family.
WOULDN'T be right having a video section and not having footbage of this game.
The Sky Blues destroyed Derby County in front of a packed house at Highfield Road on April 30, 2005.
The club has been playing at Highfield Road since 1899 and was the first all-seater stadium in England.
PINT-SIZED midfielder Jay Tabb says that none of the Coventry City team are blaming Elliott Ward after failing to take three points at Sheffield United this week.
Centre-back Ward fired the second half spot kick wide after Malta striker Michael Mifsud had been fouled in the area.
With City winning 1-0 at the time, the penalty would have given the Sky Blues a two-goal cushion.
The Blades - despite going down to ten men, equalised through Billy Sharp and hung on for a hard-earned point.
But Tabb, who scored City's goal in the first half, insists that none of Chris Coleman's squad are blaming Ward for his miss.