Coventry City host Darren Moore’s Huddersfield Town on Monday evening in the Championship but one of the biggest questions from the hosts is which player will step in following the injury to Dutch defender Milan Van Ewijk.
The 23-year-old suffered a muscular tear during last Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat against Cardiff City and becomes the club’s second injury casualty since the international break following Ben Sheaf’s groin injury.
It’s been a difficult start to the season for Mark Robins’ side, after a very busy summer transfer window with the club having almost an entirely new squad. Following the departures of Viktor Gyokeres and Gustavo Hamer, Coventry City have added plenty of talent in numerous different areas but have only won one of their first seven league games.
This arrived during a 3-0 win against Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough but the Sky Blues are currently winless in their last five matches, drawing four in a row before the defeat in South Wales despite a brace from top-scorer Matt Godden.
However, during the match against Cardiff City, Dutch full-back Milan Van Ewijk was substituted just eight minutes into the second-half after suffering a muscular injury and was replaced by Japanese international Tatushiro Sakamoto. After the final whistle, manager Mark Robins failed to provide fans with an initial update, but 48 hours after the game Robins told the club website…
“It’s not looking good. He has a significant tear in his quad. We don’t know how long he is going to be out for and he is not showing many symptoms, but the scan suggests he has a significant tear in his quad.
“We are still waiting for that report to be read by the radiologist but it does not look good.”
Let’s take a look at the options that Mark Robins has to replace the Dutchman…
The most likely face to replace Van Ewijk is Sky Blues academy graduate and first-team regular Josh Eccles. The midfielder has developed a strong partnership with Ben Sheaf so far this season, filling in following Gustavo Hamer’s departure.
However, Eccles spent the majority of last season at right wing-back until January signing Brooke Norton-Cuffy arrived at the CBS Arena. Despite Sheaf’s injury, the return of Jamie Allen could allow Eccles to move to right wing-back with captain Liam Kelly remaining in midfield.
The Japanese international was Van Ewijk’s replacement against Cardiff City and spent the entirety of pre-season in that particular position, impressing against the likes of MK Dons and Forest Green Rovers.
However, Sakamoto failed to prevent Karlan Grant from scoring last time out, after getting the wrong side of his man as he attempted to win a header and is arguably better suited as a winger or attacking midfielder instead of a full-back.
Jamaican international Joel Latibeaudiere has had a strong start to his career with the Sky Blues and featured heavily as a right wing-back/full-back for his former side Swansea City in the Championship last season.
Latibeaudiere has played the most minutes of any outfielder in England so far this season, according to Pete O’Rourke and given deadline day signing Liam Kitching made his debut against Cardiff City, it opens the door for Mark Robins to consider moving the defender out wide during Monday’s Championship clash.
Despite his impressive start as a left wing-back, Jay Dasilva is the like-for-like option to replace Van Ewijk, with Jake Bidwell returning to the starting eleven on the left-hand side, although this isn’t likely to be an ideal option for Mark Robins.
Dasilva has had an impressive start to his Sky Blues career so far but has made ten appearances in his career on the opposite side of the pitch. Although this is a strong option, it is rather unlikely that Mark Robins would consider this.
Coventry fans, who do you think is most likely to replace Van Ewijk? Let us know on Twitter @TheRealEFLNews!