Latest from Coventry fans...
COVENTRY CITY are set to welcome Freddy Eastwood back from injury as manager Chris Coleman looks to get back to winning ways in the Championship tomorrow.
The Sky Blues boss is keen for his players to show all the fight and determination displayed against Newcastle United in the Carling Cup when they take on newly promoted Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium.
"There are a lot of things we can take from the Newcastle game," said Coleman, who also saw goal-keeper Keiren Westwood and striker Leon Best return to training yesterday.
"But how many times have we seen managers like me sitting here after a big game in the cup and then going back to the league - which is our bread and butter - and not getting a result or a good performance?"
I HOPE the fans will appreciate what a difficult job I faced on Tuesday when Newcastle were playing triangles round me at times, writes Coventry City defender Marcus Hall.
I didn't know until an hour or so before the game that I was going to be playing at right-back. I walked in to see the manager and he asked me where I wanted to play, and then started laughing.
I laughed, too, and said 'not at right-back!' But it was clear that I was going to have to and I fully accepted that because I have always been ready to help the team out in any way I can.
I was just coming back from injury and it was live on telly but no one else put their hands up and offered to play there.
I obviously knew it was going to be difficult because all your angles change when you switch from your natural position, and with the class of their players it was unbelievable trying to defend against them.
But it improved after the break when Jay Tabb was switched across to help give me a bit of cover - at least he was able to pick up the full-back and leave me to mark their impressive winger, Charles N'Zogbia.
James Milner was a threat throughout and I was interested to hear that he put in a transfer request after the game.
He has undoubted talent and years ahead of him as far as the England set-up is concerned.
He's very strong, good on the ball and keeps it close to his feet, and he is certainly hot property at the moment with a few clubs interested in him.
The player that inflicted the killer blow, however, was Michael Owen whom I have played against a few times over the years and played with when I was with the England under-21s.
I can't say we are mates or anything, but I do know him and it is great to see a striker of his calibre back fit and looking the part.
He looks to have bulked up a bit with a bit of muscle and hopefully his return will be good news for England as they start their World Cup qualifying campaign.
I watched a re-run of the Newcastle game on TV last night, for the main reason of re-living Scott Dann's heroic stoppage time goal, and to check that it looked as good on the telly as it did from the stands.
I also noticed something else. As Aron Gunnarsson went to take that throw in - after he'd tossed aside a metal chair like he was some kind of WWE wrestler - he received a great big pat on the back from the long arm of a supporter on the front row.
Who was that person ???
If it's you, and you're reading this, please try and position yourself behind Aron for every throw-in from now on, and pat him in exactly the same place, because he obviously likes it there. Thanks.
I actually felt nervous all day on Tuesday, ahead of the Sky Blues taking on Newcastle, silly I know, but it was a big occasion for me. Having been a season ticket holder for the last few years, before decamping to southern Spain, it was to be my first look at the CC style team.
I had heard, and read, very good things about Westwood, Wright, Morrison, Eastwood and Gunnarson, so was eagerly awaiting my first view of them all in action, only to find out that three of the five wouldn't be taking part.
After our heroics of last season, a good cup run would be a welcome distraction from our faltering league exploits, so I had arranged to meet up with Spanish Sky Blue and both sets of extended families, which ran to about 15 "fans", most attired in our new "125 year" Kits. We took over the TV area in the Sportsman's in Cabopino and awaited the action. Rich Allen (of Allen's Taxi's fame) was supposed to be with us, but a few too many glasses of 60p Vino got the better of him and put paid to his plans.
Just before Kick-off, the Bar Owner came over and offered us a deal on some slightly out-of-date Bottles of Bud. He was looking for Ã¢ÂÂ¬2.00 each, but I bartered him down to Ã¢ÂÂ¬1.00 a bottle for the whole batch of 30 bottles.
The rest of the night is a bit of a blur, as 4 of us saw of all the drink before we left, and I even made a failed attempt to speak to Clive on the radio, thank goodness I couldn't get through.
I remember Morrison scoring a beauty, and Scott Dann notching a last minute equaliser, which sent the place ballistic, as we would now get extra time to finish our stash. So I will have to rely on Andy Turners match reports, and no more out of date lager in the future. TRUE!
Ahead of Coventry City's clash with Doncaster Rovers, here's what The Doncaster Free Press think of the mighty Sky Blues, found in their "Spotlight on Coventry City.
COVENTRY City boss Chris Coleman turned the air sky blue when he was banished to the stands during Saturday's 3-0 home defeat to Bristol City, writes Paul Goodwin.
But his players did their talking on the pitch on Tuesday night with a tenacious and tireless performance against Newcastle United in the Carling Cup - only to eventually succumb to a Michael Owen extra-time winner.
Prior to last weekend's surprisingly one-sided scoreline City had given their fans plenty to shout about with a 2-0 win at home to much fancied Norwich on the opening day of the season.
And after seeing off Aldershot in the first round of the League Cup the Midlanders then enjoyed an away day in South Yorkshire by beating Barnsley 2-1 at Oakwell.
Former Coventry forward Dele Adebola returned to haunt his old employees last Saturday when the big striker broke the deadlock for Bristol City - before Coleman was sent off for his reaction to a non-penalty award by referee Phil Dowd, whose performance the boss later described as an "absolute nightmare".
Earlier this week the former Fulham manager and Welsh international sounded off in the press again stating "he couldn't care less" if injured striker Freddy Eastwood was a doubt for Wales' opening World Cup qualifiers.
Despite his angst and injury problems - with goalkeeper Kieran Westwood, signed from Carlisle in the summer, and former Liverpool right back Stephen Wright also major doubts for Saturday - the early signs at City this season are positive.
Coleman, who replaced Iain Dowie at the Ricoh Arena helm, operated a 4-5-1 formation against Newcastle with Maltese international Michael Mifsud and Leon McKenzie supporting Clinton Morrison in attack.
Icelandic international midfielder Aron Gunnarsson, employed as an emergency right back against Bristol City, returned to the engine room to partner the diminutive Jay Tabb, while Frenchman Guillaume Beuzelin played in front of the back four.
Rovers will have to prepare themselves for the enormous throw-ins of Gunnarsson which led to Scott Dann's dramatic late equaliser against the Magpies.
Left back Marcus Hall filled in at right back while powerful centre halves Elliott Ward and Dann, along with full back Daniel Fox, made up the back four with the experienced Andy Marshall in goal.
Striker Robbie Simpson impressed as a substitute and could come into contention if Coleman opts to return to his favoured 4-4-2.
With injuries somewhat forcing his hand, however, he could be tempted
to go like for like against Rovers' more fluid 4-3-3 system.
I'VE supported my beloved Sky Blues since the season they were relegated in 2000; I saw a handful of games that season and never saw them lose so I can't be blamed for ending the 34 year stay in top-flight football!
I missed out on the Premiership years so never saw those wins against Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal but I have seen us lose to Hereford, Rochdale and Colchester.
Sometimes being a girl who enjoys football and attends every Coventry City game is hard. You have to make sure your knowledge of the rules of the game is better than the majority of blokes (especially the offside rule) to justify the fact that you are at a game and that you have the right to be there.
Unfortunately there are still some people in the world and unfortunately some of them support Coventry who think a woman should be at home on a Saturday afternoon, scrubbing skirting boards and ironing shirts rather than stood on the terraces, cheering on her team and exchanging banter with the opposition.
That's why I hated the Sky Blue Soccerette competition last season, woman who many had their favourite player based on looks rather than ability. Football is still seen as a sport for men to watch and while clubs are trying to encourage more families and woman to attend through various promotional activities many men believe that the football is their time to spend with the lads and any woman that is there is there only to stop him having fun and not because she might, shock horror, actually enjoy it herself.
So boys, the girls are here to stay and if you actually listened to some of us you would realise that we do know about the game and have our own opinions and that sometimes when we open our mouths it is not just to nag.
Natalie writes for www.skybluetrust.co.uk
BIT of a change of tack today.
Wandering around the joys of Youtube looking for classic Coventry City moments (it's a hard life), I came across this staggering own goal by former England full-back Lee Dixon.
Considering in 1991, Arsenal hardly ever conceded goals so it normally took something special to beat that infamous back-line.
Luckily, this time around, their own right-back decided to give the Sky Blues a big helping hand....
CARLISLE UNITED boss John Ward admits he is considering a loan swoop for Coventry City midfielder Chris Birchall.
The Trinidad & Tobago international is keen to leave the Ricoh after being told he doesn't feature in Chris Coleman's first-team plans.
The Cumberland News reports that Ward has spoken to Birchall's agent but has not followed up his interest with Coventry City - yet.
"I have spoken to his agent, but I haven't spoken to Coventry City," said Ward.
"Unless I do that, and speak to Chris Coleman, it can be disregarded.
"I've had a conversation as I do with many agents about many players. But I haven't had a conversation with Chris Coleman - it hasn't really gone that far.
"I know of Chris Birchall but I wouldn't want to be commenting on players at other clubs."
MICHAEL OWEN calmly slotted home an extra-time winner as Newcastle finally disposed of Coventry City in a pulsating Carling Cup tie.
Other than Owen, no-one of a Newcastle persuasion, player, coach, owner or fan, would have taken even a perverse pleasure from Scott Dann's stoppage-time leveller to send the game into extra-time.
But for Owen, introduced as a substitute near the end, it represented another 30 minutes fitness and, more importantly, another opportunity to score.
And the England forward duly obliged, speeding past a static Coventry defence and chipping Andy Marshall to give the Magpies a victory early efforts from Charles N'Zogbia and James Milner should have given them without the extra effort.
Given his key talks with owner Mike Ashley tomorrow that should plot a way forward for the Tyneside giants, Keegan might have seen positives and negatives in the way his team performed for the vast majority of the contest.
The two goals they did score could easily have been doubled without much effort. And this from a team without a recognised striker.
Yet pleased as Keegan must have been with the performance of his side, it overshadowed some basic home truths.
Against Coventry, a limited side for all their hustle and bustle, the Magpies looked good.
Against teams from the top half of the Barclays Premier League they will struggle.
I was seven years old, and my auntie (who was working for the Coventry Evening Telegraph, as it was then) presented me and my brother each with one.
"Sky Blues - Coventry City Est. 1883"
It meant very little to me back then, but it was my first ever scarf, and it was blue, so it quickly became the coolest thing I owned.
Little did I know that it was to start something in me that 20 years later I have yet to grow out of. On the contrary, it has grown with me, to the point where my teachers at school worried about me, to spending all my pocket money on replica shirts with numbers on the back, to now where I'm disregarding my day job to write about my team.
My team. Listen to me! Of course they're not my team, but we all think that, don't we?
Like with all relationships, I've let the club sit close to my heart, pushed them away again, only to invite them back with open arms. Right now I'm at the latter stage of the cycle, filled with all the optimism that Chris Coleman has sewn in me with his dapper suits and dashing Welsh charm.
I'm looking forward to spilling my emotions (football related, mostly) all over these pages, and you'll be happy to know that with no affiliations, I can pretty much say what I want.
How's this for starters?
If you buy a Yorkie from a snack machine at the Ricoh, you save 10p on the kiosk price.