Coventry City are off to a flyer. They’ve won three of their four games in the Championship, their best start in the second tier for 14 years.
If that wasn’t enough, they now find themselves returning home after almost two years in exile having been forced to play their home games in Northampton and Birmingham.
So with the club back in the city, and fans allowed in the stadium once more, no wonder the Sky Blues supporters are pretty happy with life.
Charlie Gregory caught up with a chipper Dean from Sky Blues Extra to discuss a pretty impressive start to the 2021/22 campaign.
How would you describe Coventry’s start to the season?
“In a word, outstanding. Even the most enthusiastic Coventry fan wouldn’t have thought we would be in this position after 4 games, and it inconceivably could have been even better had we finished our chances vs Barnsley.
“It took us 12 games to achieve 9 points last season so to hit that same mark so early is very encouraging.”
With 9 points on the board already and Robins’ side sitting 4th, what’s the mood like amongst the fanbase?
“I think a few of us have nosebleeds! We are all trying to keep our feet on the ground that’s for sure.
“The reality is that it’s very early days, but we must be mightily encouraged by not only the results we have achieved but by the performances we have put in.
“It’s been a long time since the fans have seen the Sky Blues dominate games which we have done so far and we have to enjoy the ride whilst it lasts.”
Given such a positive start, what is the hope for this campaign? Do the owners’ and fans’ ambitions align?
“The hope for many fans this season was to simply consolidate our place in the division and to match or slightly better last season’s finish which was 16th with 55 points.
“I think some are now dreaming of achieving bigger things given this incredible start, but it’s only that – a start. We still have 42 games to play, and we haven’t come up against one of the sides being tipped for promotion.
“I would happily take a finish in the region of 12-15th. As it’s been well documented, our owners (SISU Capital) have not got the greatest track record when it comes to running a football club, however, we can’t have too many complaints in recent memory when it comes to them backing the manager.
“There will always be fans that will want the owners to throw money at the situation but that never seems to work, especially in this division.
“I think the owners understand the situation we are in and are willing to be in it for the long-term, as seen by putting a 10-year plan in place for a new stadium.”
Since April 4th, no side has won more points in the Championship than the Sky Blues – as the division’s in-form side, do you think you can continue this run over the course of the season and challenge?
“I didn’t actually realise that. I mean, it would be lovely if they could maintain this form, but over the course of the season, I would highly doubt it, mainly due to our squad depth.
“However, saying that, this is a strange season for the Championship. Not many clubs have really strengthened this window, barring the likes of Fulham, so maybe we can catch a few teams by surprise.
“Who knows, maybe we can muster up a top-half finish.”
How good of a job is Mark Robins doing at the club?
“The man is working miracles and should be given the keys to the city! As a club we were dead and buried when he took over in March 2017 and pretty much already doomed to League Two.
“He led us to glory in the Checkatrade trophy in front of 45,000 Coventry fans at Wembley and in the following season led us back to the home of football to win the League 2 playoffs after rejuvenating the club.
“Ever since then it’s been an incredible rise. He got us playing some brilliant football in the pandemic-affected season we won League 1, and to keep us in the Championship last season on a shoestring budget was nothing short of spectacular.
“He’s found a formula for success that’s really galvanised the fanbase whilst, at the same time, cooked up a special bond in the dressing room that is great to see.”
Are you expecting any further business this window? If so, could a couple of additions in the right areas be make or break for your season?
“Mark Robins is always quite coy when it comes to transfer business. He is still looking to bring additions in, but it’s never as easy as it seems especially with our budget.
“I still feel we are short in several areas. We brought in Ian Maatsen on loan from Chelsea to fill a very bare Left Back position, but we are still light in that regard especially if Maatsen was to pick up an injury or suspension.
“Along with that, the central midfield is also lacking in numbers.
“Our captain Liam Kelly’s injury record over the last two seasons hasn’t been great and an early injury setback for youngster Josh Eccles means we only have two fully fit central midfielders at present.
“Although I don’t feel bringing nobody in would break our season, I think it would majorly affect any ambitions the club might have at progressing higher up the table.”
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