After losing out in last season’s EFL Championship Playoff Final, it looks like Coventry City have the bit between their teeth for another run at promotion to the Premier League.
Last season saw a dramatic conclusion to the season when Luton Town pipped City at Wembley, winning 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 result after 120 minutes of action. For both teams, it would’ve been a fairy tale ending, and the Hatters got their wishes fulfilled.
Now though, it seems that the Sky Blues are heading in the right direction for another tilt at glory. It may be too late for Mark Robins’ side to gain automatic promotion, such id the form of the top four, but the gap at the top was shortened yesterday with City’s well-deserved 3-1 thumping of runaway leaders Leicester City.
The win put the Midlands side into the playoff places, and although it is a congested mid-table, any of those down to 18th place will still have hopes of making a run. The current form of Coventry, with only one loss since mid-November – and that was a narrow 2-1 reverse at second place Ipswich Town – is such that now they have moved into the top six they will be hard pushed to be removed.
Mark Robins was beaming after the latest win, and the Coventry Telegraph reported the boss after the game. “I honestly thought we were brilliant. It was one of the best performances we have had this season and in many seasons. You have got to understand how good the opponent is and then you can pick the bones out of the performance.”
— Coventry City (@Coventry_City) January 13, 2024
Coventry were aided when the Foxes were reduced to ten men, Abdul Fatawu saw red on the stroke of halftime with the leaders a goal up. The constant pressure paid off with three goals in the last fifteen minutes, including the time added on.
“Even with 11 men on the field, I thought we were outstanding and I didn’t think we were stretched at any point. There were times in the game where they had some possession but we had a lot of possession in the first half and created some decent openings as well.”
Building A Winner
From the end of January last season, Coventry went on a run that saw them climb from 14th, losing just twice, to end up in fifth place. They are already well ahead of that pace and will now be favourites to take on the challenge again.
A loss in the playoffs is heart breaking at the time, but it also builds character in players and staff. Fans also know that the league is a well-used cliché marathon, not a sprint. They will remain wary of being complacent now that they have put themselves in a great position but will also use last season’s disappointing ending to spur them on.
Robins took over the managerial duties in March 2017, a season that City went down into League Two. He has since guided the club slowly through the leagues, and you feel that the time could be right for the club to return to the top flight, where they once enjoyed a stay of 33 years until relegation in 2001.