New Signing: Luke McNally

Completing Coventry City’s set of loan signings for the season, Luke McNally arrives from Burnley to add some much-needed competition for places in central defence. Having played just two minutes of league football for Burnley after a summer transfer from Oxford United, the chief concern with the addition of McNally is just how physically ready he is to begin playing regular football, but an impressive debut has allayed that fear. Instead, there can be a level of excitement over the addition of a player who represents improvement in a key area of the pitch for the Sky Blues.

Luke McNally is a player who has had a meteoric rise over the past couple of years, joining League One Oxford United from part-time football two years ago and earning a big move to Burnley with just 30 league appearances under his belt. A physically powerful presence in central defence, McNally is also very comfortable with the ball at his feet – particularly when it comes to dribbling with the ball. McNally really came into his own last year at Oxford United when playing in the middle of the back three, allowing him to harness both his physicality and technical ability, but looks likely to operate mainly on the right at Coventry City, which will place greater emphasis on his pace and positional discipline. In a defence already blessed with good ball-players, it is McNally’s physical attributes that are likely to be most valuable.

It is hard to argue that Luke McNally doesn’t improve this Coventry City team, ousting the out-of-sorts Michael Rose and putting pressure on Callum Doyle and Jonathan Panzo ahead of the prospective return to fitness of Kyle McFadzean. The main drawback with the addition of McNally is the fact that he is a loan signing, and a pretty inexperienced one, in an area of the team where there are currently no players contracted past the summer. As impressive as McNally’s debut may have been, there are likely to be errors from him between now and the end of the season, with another club likely to benefit from that experience. Like the other January signings, it appears to be a case of adding the bodies that will help the team get through to the end of the season in reasonable shape, rather than getting ahead of what could be a big summer rebuild.

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