Following a rough couple of years both on and off the pitch, Coventry are back in the Championship. First and foremost, how much does it mean to be back?
It’s great to be back because it means the club is getting back to where it should be, really – where the fans feel they should be. They spent 34 years in the top flight and that’s where, ultimately, everyone wants to get back to. It feels great to be back, trying to get a sound footing in the second tier and giving the club something to build on to move forward and reach the ultimate aim of getting back to the Premier League.
Coming back to this season, the Sky Blues have picked up four points from their opening four games. What have you made of what you’ve seen so far?
Up until Bournemouth, there were lots and lots of positives. They went to Bristol City on the first day of the season and were really unlucky, so they can take a lot of confidence from the fact that their first opponents were top of the league going into the international break. A lapse in concentration meant they were 1-0 down with 19 seconds on the clock but they got themselves back on level terms and then it looked as though they’d come away with a point until the last 10 minutes. Again, just a lapse in concentration from a set-piece saw them concede again and they went on to lose the game. For over 60 minutes of that game, Coventry were far superior, played some fantastic, attacking, expansive football and could easily have won that game. What it showed was that they were unlucky on the day, but they could compete at that level. The following game they hosted QPR in their first game at St Andrew’s and hardly had a kick in the first half, but it was a completely different game in the second half and they went on to, deservedly, win 3-2. That was a real confidence boost but then was a bit of a damp squib when they went to Barnsley and played out a goalless draw. Coventry weren’t at their best but still had a fantastic chance to win the game, they just didn’t take it. Any point away from home is a decent point these days, but you just felt it was a missed opportunity.
Up until that point it had been a positive start, but then Bournemouth came to town and that was a different proposition altogether because they’ve just come down from the Premier League and though they’d sold a lot of talent, they still have plenty in the squad. They were outclassed and the gulf showed so that just shows you the difference between the top end of the Championship and the likes of Coventry who’ve just come up and are trying to get a foothold in it. The upshot of coming out of that game is knowing they won’t come up against that every week, but going on the first three games, certainly, there’s no reason to suggest that the Sky Blues can’t compete at this level
If you were to select one player Brentford fans should be keeping an eye on, who would it be?
I would say Gustavo Hamer but he was sent off against Bournemouth and will suspended for this one. In terms of creativity and being a real livewire around the box, I’d say Callum O’Hare, who is an attacking midfielder who is very exciting on the eye and can cause teams problems. Of course, striker Matt Godden knows where the goal is and he has three to his name this season so far.
How is Mark Robins likely to set up his side in west London?
The tried and tested formation for the last seven or eight months has been a 3-4-2-1. So they have three at the back, wing-backs and then it’s a box midfield with two holding midfielders and two attacking midfielders behind the lone striker. That’s how they’ve set up, certainly since the back end of last year, and that seems to suit the players they’ve got at the moment well.
Saturday’s game will be just the fifth meeting between the two clubs since 1964. What’s your score prediction?
My heart says that they can go there and get a win but my head is telling me it’s probably going to be a difficult afternoon, given how well Brentford did last season and their ambitions. I’ll go with a draw – 1-1.
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