So Coventry City’s fairytale play-off dream seems to have come to an abrupt end, but wasn’t it fun while it lasted. The ‘buzz’ it created around pubs, shops and papers really gave people a taste of things to come under the ever improving Chris Coleman.
Defeats to Cardiff and West Bromwich Albion, combined with draws against local rivals Leicester and Sheffield Wednesday closed the chapter on the Sky Blues promotion challenge, but the book is by no means over and I am sure there will be plenty more exciting chapters to come under current manager Chris Coleman, with a possible fairytale ending.
Although Coleman’s side failed to come away with anything from the Hawthorns, their performance warranted otherwise. When they went 1-0 down, many previous Coventry teams would have thrown in the towel and simply accepted that even though it was still only the first-half, they would be chasing a lost cause. However the current Coventry City seem to have been programmed never to think like this.
What followed was a courageous second-half fight back which had players such as Richard Wood, Clinton Morrison and Carl Baker coming to within inches of putting the Sky Blues level in a match that saw the away side dominate proceedings in the second half. I hadn’t been to many away games in which Coventry City battled so well against a difficult opposition, but what made this trip stand out from others was the reception the fans gave the players at the final whistle.
Every City fan stood and applauded what was a superb second half display whereas in comparison, the home fans simply got up and walked out. I fail to remember a time when the home side won, yet it was the away faithful strolling out of the ground, play-off hopes sown the drown doing the conga!
It is obvious that behind a strong promotion push is a strong support, but there are many more key ingredients needed. Saturday’s 1-1 draw with struggling Sheffield Wednesday, showed clear evidence that some players have tired during the Sky Blues late promotion push. The Local derbies with Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion seems to have taken it toll on the players and Chris Coleman has rightly given the squad a well deserved two day rest.
The Welshman told the Coventry Telegraph this week, “I think the West Brom game took a lot out of us on the back of a busy period with the Leicester and Cardiff games as well and we pushed all three teams and I think that has taken its toll.” This made me think would any other of our play-off rivals be doing this?
One vital ingredient needed for a realistic promotion challenge depth in a squad. During the second half of the game away at West Bromwich Albion last week, it was clear to me and I am sure other Sky Blues fans why West Bromwich Albion and other teams in their position have one foot in the Premier League.
They had the luxury of bringing on good quality second half substitutes which included; Giles Barnes, Jerome Thomas and former Aston Villa striker Luke Moore, all of whom would have undoubtedly made the starting eleven for most Championship outfits. Still, if we are able to keep key players, develop what we have in the likes of Chris Hussey and add one or two new players, I and many others believe Chris Coleman will finally produce a squad worthy of that promotion push we all certainly crave.