Preview: Gillingham

Where We Are

Having looked like building some momentum after drawing with Shrewsbury and then beating Walsall, it was back to losing ways on Saturday with a 2-1 defeat at Colchester. Once again it was a case of starting the game far too slowly and surrendering momentum with a poor showing in the first 30 minutes where Colchester should have scored more than the two they managed. The disappointment is that after nicking a goal before the break via Callum Wilson we were unable to score in what was a vastly improved second half performance.

Fortunately we have the opportunity to learn our lessons from Saturday with another away trip to the South-East, this time to Gillingham. Steven Pressley has plenty to think about in his team selection in order to put things right. Once again Danny Seaborne put in a horrendous performance, simply asking for the opposition to score, he seems like a likely candidate to be dropped. The question is whether to put Jordan Clarke back in to centre-half against a physical Gillingham side or to move Jordan Willis out of his right-back position where he has impressed in recent games. Elsewhere it seems like Blair Adams will be moved out of midfield, most likely for Carl Baker with Mike Petrasso taking Adams’s place on the left of midfield.

A note on our loanees, Petrasso could be playing his final game for the club with his loan spell due to expire on Friday, although there’s talk he could extend his spell until at least the end of the season. Chuba Akpom once again has better things to do than to play first-team football so Nathan Delfouneso should be handed his first start since the Notts County game, which will test the Vile loanee’s fitness.

Last Time We Met

Our last game against Gillingham saw Coventry eventually break down a dogged Gills side to win 2-1 at Sixfields. Back then the two sides were on different trajectories, Coventry were on a roll and quickly rising out of the relegation zone. Gillingham were still winless for the season and looked set to endure a season of toil in and around the bottom four of League One.

How Are They Doing?

Gillingham have been somewhat of a surprise package since appointing their former manager Peter Taylor following the sacking of Martin Allen. Taylor has mustered 10 wins from 24 games to move the Gills into mid-table comfort. This Gillingham side though are something of a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ team, they either win or they lose, having only drawn twice in the league thus far under Peter Taylor.

The name that will stand out on the team sheet tonight will be that of former Sky Blue striker Cody McDonald. Having endured a difficult spell at Coventry, McDonald has returned to the club where he made his breakthrough in League football scoring 13 goals in 29 appearances, almost twice what he managed in two seasons with Coventry. Given this Coventry team’s penchant for conceding goals to former Sky Blues strikers it seems hard to imagine McDonald not getting on the scoresheet tonight.

Elsewhere in the Gillingham side there are a number of hard-working players, who’ll try to bully our younger players into submission tonight. Their defence comprises the no-nonsense partnership of Leon Legge and Adam Barrett who are everything you’d expect from a lower league defensive partnership. Former Peterborough midfielder Charlie Lee has been in good form recently despite having been placed on the transfer list this season by former boss Martin Allen.

Another warning for Coventry tonight will be in Gillingham’s options to partner Cody McDonald with. Joe Piggott has been in favour recently, the Charlton loanee is essentially a Peter Crouch impersonator with his lanky gait and could be an awkward customer. In addition, Danny Kedwell and Adebayo Akinfenwa our both significant lumps to spearhead their attack, something that may put Pressley off dropping Seaborne for tonight’s fixture.


It’s difficult to tell just where we are as a team, are we out of form or simply in a building phase? With our position in the league currently of mid-table comfort we can allow room for one or two more sloppy performances, but as I’ve outlined before it’s important that we can use this period between now and the end of the season to set a blueprint for our next campaign. Tonight’s fixture will be a test of our team’s mental strength, Gillingham at the Priestfield is your typical nightmare away trip and one that has seen better teams than Coventry slip up this season.

Given that drawing isn’t really Gillingham’s thing, I predict that Coventry will win 2-1.

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