It’s mission accomplished and now there’s two games left to fulfil.
Last week’s defeat against Preston North End can probably be written-off as a game too far after three successive big efforts, with the only goal of the game coming from a goalkeeping howler. This upcoming game against Huddersfield Town pits the Sky Blues up against a side with something still to play for, which will test just how much personal motivation there is left in this Coventry City squad.
Given how organised Mark Robins is in his managerial approach, it is unlikely that performances in these final two games will have any bearing on his summer transfer plans. As such, the likelihood of playing fringe or youth players to hand them a chance to stake a claim for next season.
After a calamitous performance in goal last week from Ben Wilson, there might be one last opportunity for Marko Marosi to prove he is capable of being a Championship number one next season over these final two games. However, it is likely that a decision has already been made to sign a new goalkeeper and Wilson may well see out the rest of the season in spite of his performance last time out.
Barring a return from injury for Leo Ostigard, the rest of the defence picks itself at the moment. In midfield, Liam Kelly was sorely missed last week for his physical presence, with Gustavo Hamer and Matty James looking fairly rudderless against a smarter, more physical Preston North End side. With Hamer playing particularly poorly last week, Josh Eccles is the one fringe player who will probably get a chance to show his worth over these final two games.
In attack, the preferred partnership of Tyler Walker and Matt Godden looks set to be restored ahead of developing an understanding for next season.
Last Time We Met
The meeting with Huddersfield Town at St Andrew’s was another one of those dour 0-0s that came during the height of this Coventry City side’s post-November international break defensive retreat. The most memorable moment of the game came via Gustavo Hamer picking up his fifth booking of the campaign in the final minutes before that would no longer have counted as a one-game suspension.
The Manager – Carlos Corberan
Huddersfield Town’s risky decision last summer to dispense with the Cowley brothers after the duo had led a struggling Terriers side to survival and appoint the Leeds United Under-23 coach, Carlos Corberan, looked like paying off during the first half of the campaign. The Spaniard quickly implemented an attractive brand of attacking, passing football that had his side comfortably in mid-table.
However, both results and performances have deteriorated over the course of the campaign. Not aided by losing key goalscorer, Josh Koroma, for half the season, Huddersfield began to struggle from around January onwards. While Corberan has attempted to stick with his style, it has led to some erratic performances due to a lack of confidence in the squad.
Who To Look Out For
Despite losing 5-2 to Blackburn Rovers last week, there was a major source of positivity to come from Josh Koroma not only returning from injury but scoring a goal. The former Leyton Orient youngster had been a key player in Corberan’s Huddersfield set-up, playing out wide in a 4-3-3 formation but capable of stepping inside to score goals on a reliable basis.
In Koroma’s stead, Huddersfield have lacked a goalscorer, with the burden placed on the inconsistent Frazier Campbell and tricky winger, Isaac Mbenza. In fact, Huddersfield have quite a few players capable of scoring the odd goal – such as attacking midfielder, Duane Holmes, and central midfielders, Juninho Bacuna and Lewis O’Brien – but no-one, aside from Koroma, who looks capable of leading the team’s attacking threat.
A key feature of this Huddersfield Town team is just how aggressive full-backs, Harry Toffolo and Pipa are in getting forward. Toffolo is a more traditional attacking full-back, with his excellent crossing ability the key feature of his game. Pipa is a more enthralling watch, a fantastic dribbler who attacks the byline with abandon who perhaps should do more with how consistently he gets into dangerous areas.
Where The Game Will Be Won Or Lost
Although it would take a ridiculous sequence of results to send Huddersfield Town down, they will not want to take the risk of that occurring and will see this as a big opportunity to secure a win that would guarantee survival. Furthermore, if they could do so with style, it would dampen any questions surrounding whether Carlos Corberan is the man to take Huddersfield forward.
For the Sky Blues, there has to be an expectation that Huddersfield will not only look to play with intensity, but are a side that want to dominate possession and switch the play quickly to bring their attacking full-backs in the game. Specifically, this is going to be a test of the ability of whoever is selected in midfield to impose themselves on the game, as well as the team’s defensive shape in wide areas, which has looked exploitable at times this season.
With Huddersfield a side willing to take risks in an attempt to control the game, there should be opportunities to exploit the space they leave behind at the back. Jonathan Hogg is an important player for this Huddersfield team for his ability to plug holes in midfield, but the duo of Richard Keogh and Naby Sarr in central defence is pretty slow and susceptible to getting caught in possession.