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Match Previews

Coventry Preview

Andy Phillips previews the first home league game of the season against Coventry City.

11 August 2017

Town host Coventry City at Blundell Park on Saturday afternoon (3pm) as they look to continue their winning start to the campaign.

After Tuesday's Carabao Cup game was abandoned after 20 minutes, Town will look to follow up on their opening day win at Chesterfield with another three points against one of the promotion favourites and a side boss Russell Slade spent a spell in charge of last campaign.

Potential debuts for JJ and DJ

There could potentially be two new debuts for Town, with former Port Vale striker JJ Hooper and on loan Norwich winger Diallang Jaisyemi joing earlier in the week. It remains to be seen how many changes boss Russell Slade wants to make to the team that beat Chesterfield but at least two may be enforced.

Zak Mills looks set to serve his one match suspension for this game rather than the abandoned fixture on Tuesday night, whilst Sam Kelly is touch and go after hs suffered a dead leg in the opening game. Long term absentees Jamie Osborne and Akwasi Asante continue to miss out, but Sean McAllister and Chris Clements could both be involved in the squad after returning to training.

Coventry signed attacking midfielder Tony Andreu from Norwich City earlier in the week and he could make his debut, whilst goalkeeper Lee Burge and defenders Chris Stokes and Jordan Willis will be monitored after missing the start of the season. Striker Marc McNulty is likely to return after missing Tuesday's Carabao Cup tie at Blackburn.

First encounter in nearly 15 years

It has been some time since the two sides last met, with that coming at Blundell Park in March 2003 when both teams were in the Championship.  

A Simon Ford own goal and a John Eustace penalty saw Coventry win 2-0 and come away with all three points against Paul Groves' side that day.

This season is in the fact only the third time the two have been in the same league since the early 1960s with Coventry being in the top flight for much of their history.

Sky Blues looking for their fortunes to change 

Coventry will be hoping that this is the season things start to turn around after a difficult few years for the club with off the field problems involving the Ricoh Arena and their owners seeing the club relegated to the fourth tier last season.

The Sky Blues were relegated from the Premier League in 2001 after 34 years in the top flight and have had numerous managers in that time, but will hope they have found the winning formula in former Manchester United striker and Scunthorpe United manager Mark Robins.

Robins took charge in March 2017 and the club won the EFL Trophy at Wembley Stadium under his watch after reaching the final prior to his arrival, beating Oxford United in front of over 43,000 Sky Blues fans.

This shows the level of support that the club still potentially has, and with 1,200 tickets already being sold for the game at Blundell Park, there is sure to be a good atmosphere at the weekend.

Despite a 3-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, Coventry started the league season with a 3-0 victory over Notts County last Saturday, with young winger Jodi Jones grabbing his first professional hat-trick. The 19-year-old moved to the club from Dagenham Redbridge in May 2016 after a successful loan spell, and he will certainly be someone that Town will have to watch out for with his confidence so high.

Managers in summary

Paul Wilkinson: ''It’s a big thing for us, and in the first home game it’s important to get all three points if possible.Everybody wants their home form to be really strong and to be the place – in front of their home fans – where they pick up most of the points. It’s another good test for us and it’ll be a good yardstick for where we are at this moment in time.''

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