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Five things Coventry City must do in the final run-in as season climax draws near



In front of a record league crowd at the CBS Arena, Coventry City gave themselves a vital play-off lifeline over the weekend by defeating title-chasing Leeds United.

It took a tremendous effort by the Sky Blues to equal the incredible atmosphere of a big game and halt Daniel Farke’s team’s 15-game winning streak. This is no small accomplishment for Mark Robins’ team, as they have repeatedly proven they can compete with any team in the division on their day. They now have to repeat the entire process on Tuesday against Southampton, who are now in fourth position. With a win, City can move within one point of their closest play-off rivals, Norwich, ahead of the last five games.

There are still at least six games for Coventry, which naturally includes a major FA Cup semi-final matchup against Manchester United at Wembley in a few weeks. Here are five things the Sky Blues need to do in the latter stretch of play.

Remain concentrated.

The club’s fourth trip to the national stadium in the previous seven years under Mark Robins is causing enthusiasm, but the manager needs to make sure the players stay focused on their current task—gaining points in the league to keep themselves in the running for a top six finish.

The Sky Blues might easily lose focus on their championship quest—which consists of six crucial league games—in the lead-up to their highly publicized trip to Wembley. Between now until the end of the regular season, there will be a lot more turns and turns, so City needs to maintain their composure, focus on their own problems, and see where it leads them.

Continue to use clean sheets.

In their last 16 Championship games, City have only kept two clean sheets, which is just not good enough in a situation where every valuable point matters. Maintaining possession of the ball at the other end is the first step in Mark Robins’ understanding that his team needs to produce something in every game in order to stay up with Norwich.

Easter Monday’s 2-1 loss to Cardiff at home served as a prime example of a squandered chance, as two own goals cost them three crucial points.

Goalkeeper Brad Collins of Coventry City
Coventry City goalkeeper Brad Collins

Stay injury free

Although it may seem apparent, City cannot afford any more injuries this season. They have already suffered more than their fair share of injuries, not the least of which being during the mid-term break when they hardly had a healthy midfield player on the team. Since Robins already has a very small group, losing one of their key players at this point in the season might mean the difference between them reaching their goals and not.

With Matty Godden missing the previous two games and again against Southampton, the squad already has a small offensive substitute pool. Ellis Simms and Haji Wright are currently in such great shape that everything is extremely doable. Let’s hope they continue to avoid criticism.

It’s pretty likely that the club’s star midfielder will be leaving the Sky Blues on a free transfer in the summer but City must make the most of the player while they still have him. The 25-year-old made his first start in six games at the weekend when he helped the team overcome Leeds as part of a formidable and attacking forward line.

In a welcome return to form, O’Hare was a busy and lively threat and showed that he still has plenty to offer in the final run-in, not least against Man United when fellow number ten Kasey Palmer will be suspended. The fans still love him and he still loves the supporters, and both should make the most of their last few weeks together when there’s a real opportunity to go out on a high.

The dynamic managerment duo of Mark Robins and his assistant Adi Viveash came up with another master plan to foil Leeds United
The dynamic managerment duo of Mark Robins and his assistant Adi Viveash came up with another master plan to foil Leeds United

Come up with an FA Cup game plan

There aren’t many people who can devise a strategy as well as Adi Viveash, who together with Robins engineered a path past Premier League Wolves in the quarterfinals. Manchester United will be a different animal on the day, but City’s management team will research their opponents and devise a plan to not just try to stop the Red Devils but also take advantage of any holes in their defense. Whether the Sky Blues can execute every tactical aspect to the letter, raise their game against a top team, and have the game of their lives will determine the outcome.



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