I'm sure Coventry City manager's four-word message will keep Doug King's hope alive - Flashfootballnews
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Coventry FC

I’m sure Coventry City manager’s four-word message will keep Doug King’s hope alive

Coventry City opinion from CoventryLive as Sky Blues reporter Andy Turner takes a look at the changing face of the Championship this season with several teams in the same boat following a summer of change

The Championship will be ten games into the 2023/24 campaign after the latest round of midweek fixtures, and a quick look at the league table tells a similar story for clubs like Coventry City who have gone through a huge transition over the summer.

Coventry FC

Five of last season’s top ten finishing sides – Middlesbrough (21st), Coventry (14th), Blackburn (18th), Millwall (15th) and Swansea (19th) – are now treading water in the bottom half of the division, struggling to get their seasons going. Sunderland are the only team who finished in the top six last season to still be back in the play-off places while West Brom, who finished ninth last term, are in a similar position, a place higher in eighth as things stand.

But as the Sky Blues showed last year, a lot can change over the course of the nine month schedule. At the ten game mark this time last season City were bottom of the league after a 1-0 home defeat by Burnley, with just seven points on the board. And while Mark Robbison doesn’t have the luxury of Gustavo Hamer and Viktor Gyokeres – without doubt two of the best players in the division last year – there is enough quality in the squad to suggest that things will pick up after an indifferent start.


Coventry City is in a “horrendous position,” according to the chairman, and the plan presents a significant conundrum.

At QPR, there were many signs of resiliency on display over the weekend, and the upcoming two home games in close succession offer a chance to enter the international break in a much more favorable position. Instead of getting on the players’ backs, as can happen when results don’t always go the way fans desire, Robins has pleaded with the supporters for patience and continued support of the team.

Expectations are reasonably high in light of the team’s relative success in reaching the play-off final last season, but most people recognize that without two excellent players on the team, results cannot be expected immediately or repeatedly. At situations like this, a manager also requires a powerful owner or chairman who understands the situation.

Coventry FC
Coventry FC

Insisting upon City pushing for the play-offs in three of the next five seasons when he first arrived, Doug King has made no bones about his aim for the team. Interestingly, the manager claims that he and Robins have already had a “conversation” and are on the “same page,” which is encouraging.

“I think this season, because of last season, people expect the next step to be seamless but it isn’t,” he said. “We’re almost starting again. I think with Doug coming in, and the change in emphasis, that is brilliant. It’s fantastic. There’s a lot of positive things going on but we can’t then just go right, okay, it’s gonna happen. There’s no magic wand. It takes time and this is a process.”

A quick look at Coventry’s next opponents, Blackburn Rovers, shows a not dissimilar situation. Manager Jon Dahl Tomasson lost star men Ben Brereton Diaz and Bradley Dack in the summer and neither have been replaced. Add to that the fact that their more experienced forward players, Sam Gallagher and Ryan Hedges, are both long-term absentees while Harry Leonard and Niall Ennis are also injured and it’s an all too familiar story.

“As our CEO said, it’s about staying in the league and developing players,” said the highly-rated Dane. “The summer had an impact on the rest of the year but we are ambitious and we want to do better. We want to go and win every game.

“A young Jamie Vardy in my team wouldn’t be bad, huh? We are missing a few players in that position and we lost proven goal-scorers. The others are not proven at this level. They work hard, they want to become better, they have a great attitude and discipline.”

A confident Robins, meanwhile, said: “It’s a new era, there’s no doubt about that, and it feels like that. And it’s exciting. And it will be exciting, but it will become more exciting as time goes on. It is just a process.

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