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Coventry City’s anticipated lineup versus Blackburn Rovers

Coventry City’s expected team, as Sky Blues reporter Andy Turner attempts to second guess Mark Robins.

Coventry City have a fantastic opportunity to make up ground lost after a disappointing start to the 2023/24 Championship season. Back-to-back games in four days at the Coventry Building Society Arena provide the ideal platform for the Sky Blues to excel.

Saturday’s first road win, a 3-1 triumph over Queens Park Rangers, should provide the squad with a solid foundation as they prepare for yet another international break in the league calendar. The first game is against Blackburn Rovers, who, like City, have struggled to adjust to the loss of important players in the summer following the exits of Ben Brereton Diaz and Bradley Dack, before Norwich City visit at the weekend.

Coventry City
Coventry City

Rovers head to the West Midlands having suffered three straight league defeats and conceding 11 goals against Leicester City, Ipswich Town, and Sunderland. They are also expected to be without injured first choice keeper Aynsley Pears, which should give Coventry‘s forwards something to think about as they aim to exploit a vulnerable looking defence. But the Sky Blues have had their own problems at the wrong end of the pitch, and while they won handily at Loftus Road, QPR‘s late consolation was the latest in a string of late goals.

Robins appears to be looking for a steady back three, which has been used in the last two games and should be used again against Rovers given City’s win at the weekend. That means Bobby Thomas and Luis Binks will line up alongside solid centre-half Kyle McFadzean, providing the manager does not intend to rest the 36-year-old ahead of Saturday.

Blackburn manager
Blackburn manager

Signing deadline day Liam Kitching, who joined the club for £4.5 million from Barnsley, has yet to make his first appearance for the club and will be eager for his chance, while Joel Latibeaudiere was a regular at the start of the season. The Jamaican international replaced Tatsuhiro Sakamoto at QPR, partly because the management preferred a more secure alternative away from home.

While it was certainly true, what City gained defensively, they lost offensively. It’s all about finding the correct mix, and one wonders if Sakamoto will be brought back on Wednesday night, especially because the Sky Blues will be under pressure to attack. The opposite wing-back position is now taken care of by Jay Dasilva, who was chosen first over the more defensive-minded Jake Bidwell.

The midfield has received some criticism recently, but Josh Eccles and Liam Kelly were brilliant over the weekend, and they will continue to do so in the absence of Ben Sheaf, who is not anticipated to be available owing to an adductor injury. Yasin Ayari, who can play in the midfield as well as further up in the No 10 role, was used off the bench last time out.

blackburn v coventry
blackburn v coventry

Jamie Allen made his first start of the season, and presuming three games in a week isn’t too much for the high-energy midfielder, his performance should have earned him an automatic starting spot against Blackburn. Similarly, Ellis Simms‘ goal-scoring double at the weekend effectively confirmed his position in the midweek starting lineup.

Matty Godden has been the frontrunner to partner either Simms or Haji Wright this season, and that trend appears to be continuing, with the latter anticipated to provide attacking support from the bench once more. Injuries have kept playmaker Kasey Palmer and winger Milan van Ewijk out of action.

City’s predicted line-up against Blackburn: Ben Wilson; Bobby Thomas, Kyle McFadzean, Luis Binks; Joel Latibeaudiere, Josh Eccles, Liam Kelly, Jay Dasilva; Jamie Allen; Matty Gooden, Ellis Simms.

 

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