CCFC3_c1614_c1614617_13116_317IT HAS taken the Sky Blues longer than expected to hire a new manager but I think fans will agree we all have our fingers crossed that Mark Robins is the right man to take this club forward, writes Observer sports reporter Steve Carpenter.

I was impressed with Robins’ first press conference last week. He spoke softly to the media but in a tone that had us all gripped.

At times he cracked a few jokes but he didn’t raise a smile. He knows this is no laughing matter and seems completely focused on changing the fortunes of this once fantastic club around.

He seems like a quiet man but has a look of determination in his eyes and on Saturday we saw more glimpses of his character on the touchline.

Robins knows he has got a huge task on his hands in turning this club’s fortunes around and I was glad to see him bring three new players in barely 24 hours into his reign.

And the arrival of coach Steve Taylor can only provide more depth and input on the training pitch.

It’s obviously going to take Robins a bit of time to stamp his authority, but in the short-term we need some sort of quick fix and that is a victory against Oldham on Saturday.

I don’t think any Sky Blues supporters could have predicted this nightmare start and it’s fair to say we have all experienced the harsh reality of playing at this level.

A lot of the players have said that when we get the first win under out belt we will start climbing up the table and I thoroughly agree.

Forget the outcome of last night’s trip to the Emirates: no disrespect to Arsenal but we have bigger fish to fry at Boundary Park on Saturday.


l1005df5_c19953_12831_668_v03WE all want the Sky Blues to appoint the right man to guide us out of League One, but let’s not rush into what could be one of the most important appointment in the club’s history, writes Steve Carpenter.

Andy Thorn was hired because he came in alongside Steve Harrison and immediately got the club playing attractive football after the Aidy Boothroyd era.

He was given a handful of games and won the support of both the players and fans.

I only wish Richard Shaw had followed in Thorn’s footsteps and produced a series of positive results while in temporary charge so he could have been offered the role on a full time basis.

However, having spoken to the club’s development director Steve Waggott, I would be very surprised if Shaw was offered the role after watching the performances at Crewe and at home to Stevenage.

His post-match comments ring true. Despite taking the lead on Sunday, the team didn’t fill me with confidence that they had what it takes to go on and take all three points.

Waggott has told me that this losing mentality was the reason for Thorn’s departure and a new manager will change the atmosphere around the club and among supporters.

If that’s the case, then having looked through the possible list of candidates, one man who fits that specification perfectly is Dennis Wise.

The former England international was a revelation when he joined the Sky Blues for a brief spell as a player back in 2006, helping to guide the club to their highest finish since relegation from the Premier League in 2001 before retiring.

I hope Wise is one of the nine candidates being interviewed for the role this week because I firmly believe he is capable of turning this club around.

I’m sure more details will be released as we head towards the weekend but one thing is for sure, unlike some previous regimes, the club are not rushing into this decision.

They know just how crucial Jimmy Hill’s appointment was back in the 1960s and now they have the difficult task of finding that type of character to help steer the club back in the right direction.

ccfc nott __c1388620_12627_542ANDY Thorn was sacked as manager of the Sky Blues because three points out of a possible nine was deemed not good enough, said club chief executive Tim Fisher.

The 45-year-old became the first major managerial casualty of the sea-son after 17 months in charge.

Thorn was tasked with masterminding a return to the Championship and brought in nine players this summer.

But his new-look side surrendered leads against Yeovil and Sheffield United and letting a two-goal lead slip at home to Bury on Saturday proved to be the final straw with supporters booing the players off the pitch at the end.

Assistant manager Richard Shaw and first team coach Lee Carsley will take temporary charge of first team affairs.

“We have not taken this decision lightly,” said Fisher.

“We recognised last season there were off the field matters that affected team affairs and felt it was right and proper to give Andy the chance to put that right over the course of the summer and the start of the season.

“We do not feel that has happened.

“Of course, the fact we have surrendered the lead in the first three league games has not helped but there are several other factors in this decision, not just three disappointing results.

“We would like to put on record our thanks to Andy for his work in current and previous roles at the club.”

Thorn took over as manager from Aidy Boothroyd back in April 2011 after impressing as caretaker manager alongside former assistant Steve Harrison.

He became an instant hit with supporters for his attractive style of play, but as the club’s off-field crisis worsened, so too did the on-field performances and the Sky Blues dropped back into the third tier of English football for the first time since 1964.

Development director Steve Waggott, who has worked closely with Thorn since arriving at the Ricoh in December, hinted that promotion was not looking likely under the leadership of the former Wimbledon and Crystal Palace defender.

“There is no doubting the ability in the squad, you saw that in the first half against Bury and in much of the second half against Sheffield United.

“It’s vital now we all pull together as a club and ensure we start to win matches in the next few weeks.”

Shaw 1RICHARD Shaw said it did not come as a surprise to hear the away end would be packed out when the Sky Blues kick off their League One campaign at Yeovil Town on Saturday.

The club sold out their allocation of 2,000 tickets for the season opener at Huish Park. Fans should be in buoyant mood following Tuesday night’s 1-0 win over Dagenham in the League Cup courtesy of a last minute Kevin Kilbane penalty.

Shaw told The Observer: “I know just how special the club is to the players and sup-porters, and it doesn’t surprise me to here it’s a sell out.

“It’s important to the players that they see the supporters are right behind them.

“I think we had the same thing when we got relegated from the Premier League and we played Stockport away first game, the Coventry fans virtually took over the whole stadium.

“If we can produce a winning side then I think the fans will come and follow, whether we’re in League One or in the Championship.

“When you’re winning people will come and support you so it’s important we put on a display and if we can get off to a winning start for them that would set us off on the right road.”

The Sky Blues are among the favourites to push for promotion ahead of the news season.

And Shaw said getting three points ahead of back-to-back home fixtures against Sheffield United and Bury was important.

“If you can win your first game it sets the tempo as such for the season ahead,” he added.

“The first six games are going to be key as to where we are, but at the same time I know two or three wins in this league can push you right up.

“You can bounce back from a defeat but it’s a lot easier when you win your first game because all of a sudden confidence is high and you enjoy coming into training.

“We want to make this a place where the boys enjoy their football and we want to create a real buzz about the city and among the fans.

“That’s the type of atmosphere we’re trying to create and we can do it if everyone pulls together in the right direction.”

City have been handed a home draw against Birmingham City in round two of the Capital One League Cup. The tie is scheduled for week commencing August 27.

5977335018_a_c1560855_1282_464ALTHOUGH a loan move to the Sky Blues came as a surprise for Callum Ball, the Derby County striker is determined to make the most of it.

The 19-year-old joined Andy Thorn’s side on a season-long loan despite breaking into the Derby first team last season when he scored three goals in 23 appearances.

The purpose of the move is for Ball to gain valuable first team experience and he was confident the move could be beneficial for both clubs.

“Coventry is a big club so I’ll be doing all I can to help get them back into the Championship,” said Ball, who was born in Leicester but grew up as a Liverpool fan.

“They were one of the best teams I came up against last year, they played some great football, so to come here and play football for them is a big thing for me.

“I was a little bit surprised to be honest because I had a good season last year, but this move could work in my favour.“

“As soon as there was an interest I said I would go there. They are a good footballing side. I’m a young lad and I want to play football.

“Obviously League One is a bit more physical compared to the Championship so hopefully I can improve as a player and get more games.

“Nigel Clough is going to keep in touch and send people over to see how I’m doing, but he’s happy about the move so I think it’s going to be a good thing for me in the future.”

Ball joins an already youthful looking Sky Blues side, which features no fewer than 15 players who graduated through the club’s own academy.

And the powerful striker, who came across the likes of Cyrus Christie at academy level, felt the age difference had helped him settle.

“There are a few young lads here, as there are at Derby, and I think that really helps you really get into it,” Ball added.

“When you come into a side with older players it’s going to be a bit harder to mix in with them, but when you’ve got people more your age you can get on with them.

“Having said that you need the older lads because they help keep your feet on the ground.

“You get a lot of younger lads who break into a team and think they’ve made it but you need the older guys to bring them back down a peg or two.

“It’s a brilliant set up here. It’s nice having the first team mixing in with the academy so it’s a nice place to come out to for the first time on loan.”

l10273b0_c1_c1499382_12426_662THE departure of Richard Keogh is a big blow but you can’t begrudge a player of his quality having the ambition to play at a higher level.

To put it simply; it would be an insult to him if he were to play in the third tier of English football.

His performances for the Sky Blues have been nothing short of exceptional and he has rightly earned his place as a club legend among supporters.

His statement to the fans shows why he is such a class act. Something we didn’t see from captain Sammy Clingan, who simply decided to jump ship.

I’ve been lucky enough to speak with Keogh on several occasions and last year he spoke of his desire to represent the Republic of Ireland senior team.

He captained an under-21 side which included the likes of Aidan McGeady, Glenn Whelan and Stephen Ward, all of whom started all three games for the Irish during Euro 2012.

I very much doubt Trapattoni pays much attention to players in League One these days, so this is another reason why it made sense for Keogh to move on and I will be proud to see another former Coventry player pull on the green jersey should he get the chance.

Keogh will get the same sort of reception as fellow defenders and former favourites Mo Konjic and Richard Shaw did when he returns to the club in the future, and I’m sure every Sky Blues fan will join me in wishing him all the very best in the future.

Shaw 1RICHARD Shaw has issued a rallying call to Sky Blues supporters to back the club next season after he was unveiled as Andy Thorn’s new right-hand man.

The former defender cemented himself as a firm fan’s favourite for his committed performances during an 11-year playing career with the club.

And the 43-year-old, who replaces Steve Harrison, is calling on that support once more to help push the Sky Blues back to the Championship.

“I want to urge the fans to stick with us,” said Shaw, who will join former team mates Steve Ogrizovic and Lee Carsley on the club’s coaching staff.

“They’re the most important aspect of this football club.

“As a player I received a huge amount of support from them down the years and now we’re going to need it again next season.

“It was very sad seeing the club get relegated but a lot of big clubs down the years have been in League One.

“No club has a divine right to be in any league and you’ve only got to look at the likes of Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Leicester, Charlton etc, who have all been there but managed to get out.

“It’s a very tough league but we’re going to be giving it our all for the supporters and hoping to get the club back into the Championship.”

Shaw signed from Crystal Palace in November 1995 for £1million and went on to make 362 appearances with just one memorable goal to his name – a 25-yard screamer against Gillingham in 2004.

He returns to the Ricoh Arena after a six -year spell at Millwall where he was the club’s reserve team manager since retiring as a player in 2008.

Shaw helped guide Millwall to the League One play-off finals on two occasions and he is hoping to draw on all of his experience to bring some overdue success to the Sky Blues.

“I had other offers on the table but I jumped at the chance to come back really,” Shaw added.

“The move came out of the blue really. I had a call from Andy and we know each other well from our Crystal Palace days, so it seemed like the right thing to do.

“I obviously have a good relationship with the club and supporters so this is a fantastic opportunity for me but I am under no illusions that we have a job on our hands next season.

“I spoke with Lee (Carsley) and he has told me there are some very good young players here with the right attitude coming through so hopefully we can build on that and with the right team spirit and lots of hard work.”