What Mark Robins said about 22 year old creative young star ‘ latest showing as changes crisis continues to haunt Coventry City

What Mark Robins said about 22 year old creative young star ‘ latest showing as changes crisis continues to haunt Coventry City

What Mark Robins said about Ellis Simms’ latest showing as midfield crisis continues to haunt Coventry City
Coventry City match analysis from CoventryLive as we look at things learned and big issues from frustrating night at CBS Arena

There’s no denying that Monday night’s CBS Arena draw with Huddersfield Town felt like a defeat for Coventry City. The Sky Blues just had to see out another 30 seconds or so of the game to secure what would have been a much welcome second win of the season.


But a determined Huddersfield kept going and took full advantage as Mark Robins’ side went into panic mode and conceded a late leveller in the fifth minute of stoppage time to spoil the night for supporters who hadn’t witnessed the best performance, but thought they were leaving the stadium with three points secure.


There were plenty of positives in a dominant first half when City enjoyed 71 percent of possession, but they looked fragile amid a second half fight-back from the Terriers, who earned their rewards by battling all the way to the final whistle – a trademark of Coventry’s performances from recent seasons.

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So what’s gone wrong? Here we look at some of the things learned from the thoroughly frustrating 1-1 Championship draw that leaves the club seventh from bottom of the league, just three points away from the relegation mix.

Simms at the ready
The applause given to Ellis Simms when he left the field in the 70th minute told the story of the striker’s contribution. The No 9 has so far been in the shadow of Haji Wright, but on Monday he started to look like the player fans all hoped Mark Robins had signed – strong, mobile and able to carve out game changing opportunities.


“On a positive note, Ellis probably had his best game for us from the start and was really unlucky with the goal, but Yasin’s reaction was fantastic to stick it in the net,” said Robins.


Asked what he’d said to Simms before the game, the City manager added: “I didn’t need to say anything to him because he’s done that himself with the work he has put in training and when he came on last week. He has carried that work on and that tells you that he’s ready.”


Waiting for take-off

Haji Wright certainly looks the part for the Sky Blues. He’s lively and exciting going forward, but patience is beginning to wear thin among the fans and he really needs to start finding the back of the net. He passed up a gilt-edged opportunity late on when inspired Town goalkeeper Lee Nicholls somehow managed to deny Bobby Thomas’ brilliant first time effort from a Josh Eccles’ centre, with the loose ball falling to the striker who managed to steer it over the bar from three yards out. It makes you wonder whether there’s a weight of expectation from his record transfer fee beginning to hang heavy on his shoulders. Similarly to Simms, supporters are just waiting for the pair to take off, to start finding the goals they’ve been brought in to score in the post Gyokeres era.

Groundhog Day defending
It’s beginning to feel a bit like Groundhog Day the way City keep conceding late goals. It happened against Leicester (87 mins), AFC Wimbledon in the EFL Cup (86 and 90 mins), Hull (87 mins), Cardiff (84 mins) and now Huddersfield (90+5 mins) and it has to stop. The latest example took the shine off what would have been a huge step in the right direction.


Having dominated the first half against the Terriers and taken a deserved lead, the Sky Blues then hung on to their fragile looking advantage for large spells of a disappointing second half before the introduction of fresh legs and energy in the form of Jamie Allen and Haji Wright, which served to take the sting out of Huddersfield’s momentum. However, the failure to take their big chance when it arrived to secure the full three points proved costly when, minutes later and with seconds left on the clock, City failed to see out the game.


It’s basic game management which starts from the leaders and most experienced players in the side but, interestingly, Robins pointed to the fact that the domino of errors started with his skipper. “We just needed to defend that last attack but the first header, Kels gets under the ball – was nudged under it – but he didn’t need to go there,” he explained. “If he’d stepped off he would have won the header and it’s game over.

“On the back of that, Binksy comes in with Hudlin in a space just in front of him and he tried to get there but he flicks it round the corner, so he’s out of the game. Jake Bidwell can go to the man on the ball, in the initial phase, and I think that was Rudoni on the ball, but he backed away. Then there’s a run off the back and they slide the ball into the box but we don’t need to let the ball go into the box. And then we are all trying to panic to get a toe on it to get it out but it hits Bobby Thomas on the head and hits the lad on the leg and goes in. It’s just mad!”


Midfield dilemma
Robins admits his latest injury news has left him with a dilemma. Kasey Palmer being ruled out for six-eight weeks with an adductor tear leaves a big responsibility on Yasin Ayari’s shoulders. And while the teenager is clearly a very talented lad, it’s a huge ask for him to carry the weight of the position for the next couple of months. Jamie Allen appears not ready for 90 minutes and while a return for Callum O’Hare is on the horizon, it’s still going to be weeks before he’s anywhere near ready to contribute from the start, let alone be back to his best.


There’s also a serious deficiency further back in the midfield, which goes back to losing two of the team’s best players at once. Taking Gus Hamer out of the side is one thing, but then to lose the quality of Ben Sheaf to injury as well has merely compounded the issue, leaving the responsibility to rest on Josh Eccles – a young lad who is doing an admirable job but still learning the game – and the experienced Liam Kelly. Unfortunately, City’s failure to identify and/or recruit a dynamic replacement for Hamer has come back to bite them on the backside.


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