5 Things We Learned In December

Leon Clarke Is The Best Striker In League One

Leon Clarke finishes his first 12 months at Coventry with 23 goals in 34 games. He also ends the calendar year as the top scorer in the division this season with 15 goals. His importance to the team was highlighted in his absence at the beginning of the month and then his return at the end with 4 goals in 4 appearances as the team advanced to the third round of the FA Cup and beat one of the league’s best sides on Boxing Day. More than his goals though is his link-up play and leadership. The pass for Franck Moussa’s goal to take the lead against Peterborough was pure quality and displayed a calmness and assurance that belied the ragged nature of the game that it was being played in. His comments after the game about certain players needing to take responsibility for the team’s results also showed a level of professionalism and desire to win that is all too rare at this club.

We Can Still Match The Best Sides In The League

A disappointing November had many Coventry fans doubting the true measure of quality of this team. Many of our wins this season had come against bottom half sides leading to the sense that we were ‘flat-track bullies’ and incapable of producing the goods when there was a genuine need to do so. However recent wins against Peterborough and MK Dons as well as a dominant display in defeat to Swindon has lead to many reconsidering their opinion. Although we had our luck in the win over Peterborough it was the manner in which the side asserted their dominance in the second half which forced the result. The conclusion being that our best may be too good for even the better sides in the league, which is a rare feeling at Coventry City.

We Need To Put Away The Weaker Sides

Points dropped this month in abject displays against poor Crewe and Oldham sides have seen us slowly slip away from the play-off picture that we were in in mid-November. These dropped points seemed to come about as a result of complacency more than anything else as the team’s pressing game eased off against the supposed weaker teams in this division. If we want to push for the play-offs this season then we really need to step the intensity up and play more in the manner of the Colchester and Notts County games where we passed and pressed the opposition into submission. This is where the bulk of our points will come from and will make the difference between mid-table and a play-off challenge.

The Lack of Impact From Loan Players

After the initial bump in the performance against MK Dons at the end of November which featured goals from loanees Chris Maguire and Chris Dagnall with a solid display in defence from Seaborne, the impact in December has been rather muted. A disappointing display against Crewe saw Maguire dropped to the bench against Swindon and recalled the day after. Dagnall and Seaborne both put in poor performances as well against Crewe, with the latter costing the team a goal and the former simply playing shockingly. This has led to question marks as to whether the three loan players were really needed with none out of the three really being an improvement over the options already available to Pressley. However recent displays from Dagnall and Seaborne have improved and there can be no doubting the necessity of having experienced bodies to line our paper-thin squad so overall they have made a positive impact in my opinion.

Cartoon Drawings Prove Very Little

‘Highfield Road II’

The main piece of news concerning the ongoing stadium farce at the club was the unveiling of the designs for the new stadium that may or may not be built. For some this has reassured them a little that there are contingency plans in place should the owners fail to buy the Ricoh. For others this is another bluff on the part of our owners and should not be believed. A more balanced view would be that stadium designs mean absolutely nothing without the land actually being purchased to put the stadium. Is this a bluff from SISU in order to win the ultimate prize of the Ricoh? Maybe but at the moment it’s all conjecture and yet again any statement from both the club and council needs to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt.

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