In a tightly-contested battle for the remaining striker spot in the Coventry City Team of the Decade, it is promotion-winner Marc McNulty who edges his way into the side.
Marc McNulty was a rare case of the club signing a striker over the past decade who, more-or-less, guaranteed goals. Having scored freely in Scotland with Livingston, reached double figures in Leagues One and Two with Sheffield United and Portsmouth, McNulty was a highly sought after player in the summer transfer window, with the influence of Michael Doyle proving decisive in pipping Mansfield Town to his signature.
Under the weight of expectation, Marc McNulty spluttered through the opening months of our League Two campaign, getting into promising positions but snatching at his chances. After scoring a hugely fortunate first goal for the club away at Grimsby Town – stealing the ball from the opposition’s centre-back as he placed down the ball for his keeper to take a free-kick – McNulty went ten league appearances without a goal.
Thankfully, McNulty’s struggles came at a time when Jodi Jones and Duckens Nazon were leading the attack. A season-ending injury to Jodi Jones in November cast McNulty’s form in front of goal in sharper focus. Just as the pressure was really mounting on McNulty, he started to deliver.
Five goals in five league appearances, capped off by a confident brace against Wycombe Wanderers just before Christmas, set McNulty up nicely for the rest of the campaign. There were only two occasions from that point onwards where he went more than two games without a goal, managing an incredible 24 goals in his final 35 appearances of the season.
It became increasingly apparent that the belief that Marc McNulty was a cut above League Two level was fully justified. Although billed as a penalty area poacher, a lot of McNulty’s goals were excellent technical strikes. This was allied with a work-rate and an ability to link-up with his team-mates saw him create an additional 12 goals – the most memorable being the two he set-up on the counter-attack in the League Two Play-Off Final at Wembley.
As has always been the case at Coventry City, strikers who find the kind of form that McNulty did are not longed for the club. Perhaps a move to the Championship was slightly above his level, but when the interest came in, it was simply too attractive in terms of money and the career opportunity it presented for McNulty to turn down. Unlike other successful Coventry City strikers, Marc McNulty actually achieved something with the club during his time here.
One of the most intriguing elements of doing this Team of the Decade is whether it’s about the 11 most talented players or the 11 most favourite or memorable players of this time period. While McNulty is the joint-top scorer for the club over the past decade, that his goals translated into promotion gave him the edge over arguably more talented strikers that he was competing with in the survey.