Fare Thee Well To Five

So today we found out the first 5 players to leave the club and they are unlikely to be the only ones to go. The 5 were Richard Wood, Nathan Cameron, Stephen Elliott, Danny Philliskirk and Jordan Stewart. This post is an opportunity to look back at what they’ve done for the Sky Blues and a little bit of rumour mongering for their futures.

Danny Philliskirk

Danny started off his career in football as a bright prospect. So much so that Chelsea came in and took right out of the Oldham academy. Since then though it’s been the case of so many young players who leave their clubs too soon as he’s been unable to develop under with regular first-team football.

He arrived in January after being released by Sheffield United but appeared to be signed for the development squad only, perhaps with the hope that he might show us what Chelsea saw in him. It’s a bit harsh then that he’s been released after playing only one game for us but given the finances it’s probably a case of saving wherever possible.

That one game was against Leyton Orient, he had one very good chance to score but didn’t take it. He looked like a decent footballer but out of his depth as a lone striker, which is not how he was being played in the development team. There’s not much else to say apart from that he was decent in the development squad but given that we have players from our own academy he was not needed for next season.

I anticipate that he’ll move down another league and I hope he’ll start to fulfil some of that potential. He’s clearly a decent footballer but definitely needs first-team football to realise his potential. The example of Tom Taiwo, he looked like following a similar career path, is what Danny should use as an example but he’s going to need to have an impact somewhere or he won’t have a career in football.

Jordan Stewart

I’m writing these assessments based on the level of impact/time spent at the club that each player has had. Jordan’s been at the club the shortest out of all 5 but has been more a part of the team than Philliskirk.

Brought in as cover for the injured Blair Adams it was clear that his only a short-term move to fill a gap. It also was a bit of an indictment for the academy given that Carsley/Pressley didn’t deem anyone good enough to make the step up and only called up Ryan Haynes when there was no other option. The sending off against Walsall is his major black mark, although I think he generally did better than what I expected him to do.

He looked decent going forward, only that, but didn’t appear to be that good of a defender and it amazes me that he once was first choice in a Premier League side (Watford) but it is clear why he’s no longer even at Championship level. For what it’s worth I thought that as a back-up for Adams he was worth keeping, once again though the finances meant that he was unnecessary given that his wages could be best spent elsewhere.

For Jordan I expect he’ll either drop down to League 2 or sign for a lower-ranked League 1 side in about September/October. His career is coming to an end and I expect that he’ll be no more than a squad player should he remain a professional footballer.

Nathan Cameron

When he made his debut against Portsmouth in Boothroyd’s first game it looked so promising for him. His confidence and presence belied his status as an academy player making his debut. Alas those first few games were just about as good as it got. I don’t think there’ll be many Coventry fans now worrying about the strength of the squad now that it’s poorer one Nathan Cameron.

After returning to the first team after Robins left he looked lacking in both confidence and presence. His positioning was poor and so was his heading ability. A loan spell at Northampton looked to be him finding his right level but even there he’s made a couple of horrendous mistakes costing his side key goals.

So where does he go now? I don’t know I suspect he’ll have a few trials around Leagues 1 and 2 where he needs to impress. Those early games showed he had the talent but he needs to rediscover that to get his career back on track.

Stephen Elliott

Even though he’s played less for Coventry in a shorter spell than Nathan Cameron I put Elliott second because I believe he would have been worth keeping if we’d had the money. That being said, when he arrived from Hearts off the back of a 3 goals in 26 game season I thought that either Andy Thorn didn’t know what he was doing or that he was going to be a squad player.

For much of his time in the first half of the season that was what he was. However after he scored 2 against MK Dons when McGoldrick was suspended and then became a useful second striker to Leon Clarke he really showed why he was able to do so well at Sunderland. His main attribute was his work-rate, like an Irish Dirk Kuyt, however he was also decent on the ball and was looking to bring his team-mates into play with his industry. He wasn’t though the most lethal finisher and I think he would struggle to play long-term as a lone striker.

I also think that the size of our squad counted against Elliott staying. With Clarke, McDonald, Wilson and perhaps McSheffrey (although he could also be out) already there and Pressley favouring one up front there simply wasn’t any room for him to stay, particularly given that he’s probably on a fair amount.

I have almost no idea where he’s likely to end up. He could still do a job in the Championship but I think most managers will baulk at his recent goal-scoring record as well as his age and injury record. It’s most likely that he’ll find another League 1 team, which would be annoying, or he could move back to Scotland. It’s likely though that he’ll have to take a pay-cut to find a club next season, which is why it’s frustrating that we couldn’t use that to keep him here.

Richard Wood

Of all 5 departures his is clearly going to be the biggest lost to the squad overall. Not just his ability as a defender, which isn’t outstanding, but his presence as a leader both on and off the pitch. That being said his departure has been apparent for all to see for quite a while given that he’s still on a Championship salary and seemingly unwilling to take a pay cut.

Richard’s had a mixed spell at Coventry, he’s always seemed as a domineering sort of defender but we haven’t seen him produced that on a regular basis. Under Coleman he was just about first choice. Then Boothroyd came along and he did a semi-decent job at left-back, although not as good as a proper one. Under Thorn he became back-up to Keogh and Cranie. This season he’s just about been one of the more consistent defenders but still having some pretty nervy games.

However he leaves our back-line a much poorer place. We’re apparently in talks to sign Aaron Martin but I’m not too sure if he’ll commit given the embargo and rent dispute. Edjenguele is a decent defender but is positionally quite poor and can be dominated by more powerful strikers. Billy Edge though will be left with Kevin Malaga and Jordan Willis out of the under-contract players, which doesn’t fill me with confidence for next season. Wood’s departure makes a new central defender but hopefully two an absolute must for next season.

For Wood himself, he’s been apparently making noises about moving back to Yorkshire. From looking at the various team in Yorkshire it would either be a move to the Championship somewhere or going to Sheffield United (seems unlikely given his past and their current squad) or Rotherham in League 1, I don’t see him ending up in League 2 in all honesty.

So there you go. To varing degrees our squad has been weakened by these 5 leaving. It’s all on Pressley now to lure the right replacements to wherever it is that we are playing next season. Right now it looks like the priority is in central defence, although with talks of McDonald heading back to Gillingham it seems like a new striker is in order as well.

Image Courtesy of Diego’s Sideburns on Flickr

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