Adjusting To Life After Leon Clarke
Since the departure of Leon Clarke on the 30th of January, the club has signed 6 players in an attempt to address his absence. Thus far Nathan Delfouneso has looked average in patches, picking up an injury after his second game. Rory Donnelly came and decided he couldn’t be bothered to play competitive football. Chuba Akpom looked decent against Carlisle but ultimately failed to make any sort of telling impact on the game. Petrasso, Marshall and McGeouch are all wide players who have looked decent thus far. Overall it’s clear that performances have dropped since Leon Clarke’s exit from the club, it might not just be the issue of his on-field impact but also the influence he has psychologically on his team-mates. Clarke’s post-match interview on the Boxing Day win over Peterborough showed him to be the determined to win senior figure that Coventry have often lacked. Without Clarke in the team it has felt thus far that players have been unable to lift their game at key moments, which to me suggests that they are lacking leadership and/or the kick up the backside that’s sometimes required of players still learning their trade in the game.
The Play-Off Dream Is Over For Another Season
Mathematically we’re still in with a shout of the play-offs. However the chasm currently stands at 15 points and with 7 teams separating us and Peterborough in 6th position. With teams above us in far better form than we’re currently in, the most likely scenario is of the points gap increasing between us and the play-offs rather than reversing. Once again we’re stuck in that repeated scenario we’ve found ourselves in since being relegated from the Premier League, with any chance of promotion already ruled out before Spring has started.
The Season Is Far From Finished
Typically Coventry have reacted to their play-off hopes fading by putting in apathetic and sub-standard performances until the end of the season, or until the danger of relegation looms large. Whilst we can still say that we’re above the relegation battlers at this moment in time, failing to win any of our next 2 or 3 matches will put us right amongst the pack. Whilst there have been mitigating circumstances such as a ludicrous run of bad luck in attempting to recruit new strikers, the performance levels in February have been shockingly poor overall. March will be the month to prove that our performances at the start of the season weren’t lucky or as a result of being underestimated. It’s time for the players to stand up and be counted.
Our Standing Has Declined In The World Of Football
We found ourselves in an absurd scenario last week with our recent loan signing Chuba Akpom being recalled by Arsenal to play in youth-team football. Like many other Coventry City fans this felt like the ultimate insult, that our level of football was deemed less important than a Premier League side’s youth cup fixtures. We were left with no recognised strikers to play against Tranmere the subsequent Saturday, a game where we struggled for penetration in attack. It was a reminder once again that the club is even more insignificant to the world of football than even most pessimistic City fans originally thought.
Have SISU Learned Some Important Lessons?
Finally, although there have been one or two points that haven’t made the cut this month, we were greeted by the news on Friday afternoon that the club had finally filed their accounts on time. For most football fans this news that their club has filed its accounts would barely raise an eyebrow in interest. For Coventry City the issue has become increasingly one to beat SISU with. The past 3 seasons has seen the club left in limbo between March and July, with a transfer embargo seeing us gazumped regularly in the transfer market in those key early months. Hopefully the news will see Pressley being able to move swiftly with his summer transfer activity and integrate new players before the season starts. There are many other key questions that SISU have left unanswered thus far but finally filing the club’s accounts on time shows that they are perhaps acting in way that they see benefits the Coventry City.