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Sheffield United decision turned into a Coventry City transfer masterstroke

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Marc McNulty found a new lease of life at Coventry City after leaving Sheffield United.

The Sky Blues had just been relegated to League Two in 2017, following five seasons in League One, which came after their relegation from the Championship in 2012.

The club’s steady decline had not been helped by a number of financial issues. They were forced to groundshare with Northampton Town in 2013 and even faced liquidation in 2015, only being allowed to continue playing under a different company.

However, the arrival of Marc McNulty kickstarted Coventry’s rise back up the leagues and revitalized his career too.

Marc McNulty’s career was fading away at Sheffield United

Marc McNulty

McNulty had been with Sheffield United since the summer of 2014, joining from Scottish side Livingston, where he had been the top scorer in the third division in his last season north of the border.

His time in Yorkshire started well, with a decent first season, during which he scored nine goals in League One.

However, he struggled to make an impact in his second and third seasons, scoring just once in 13 appearances for the Blades. He became a backup player and was even loaned out to Portsmouth and Bradford City.

Marc McNulty’s Sheffield United stats (al competitions, as per FotMob)
Season Appearances Goals
16/17 5 0
15/16 8 1
14/15 43 13

Failing to make his mark at Bramall Lane, McNulty left at the end of his contract.

The 24-year-old then signed for Mark Robins’ Coventry on a two-year deal. Coventry had just been relegated from League One at the time.

Robins highlighted their goalscoring issues as the key reason for bringing McNulty in, stating: “Goalscoring was clearly an area requiring improvement from last season, and I’m delighted to have been given the support to improve this area with a player of Marc’s undoubted quality.”

Marc McNulty would be Coventry’s talisman as he led them to promotion

Marc McNulty

**McNulty’s Heroics at Coventry City**

Marc McNulty found his shooting boots at Coventry City, helping them get promoted straight back to League One at the first time of asking.

In total, he scored 25 goals and assisted eight more in 45 games, playing a crucial role in Coventry’s promotion. One of the highlights was his hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Grimsby Town. However, it was his goals in the playoffs that were the most important.

In the semi-finals against Notts County, Coventry was 1-0 down at home in the first leg. McNulty stepped up to score a crucial 87th-minute penalty, leveling the tie going into the second leg at Meadow Lane.

Coventry went on to win the second leg 4-1, with McNulty scoring their second goal in the 37th minute, putting them 2-0 up on the night.

In the final at Wembley Stadium, McNulty became the hero, assisting two goals in a 3-1 win over Exeter City. He won the Man of the Match award for his impressive display.

His outstanding performances throughout the campaign earned him the PFA Player of the Year in League Two, receiving 42% of the votes.

After firing Coventry back to League One, McNulty departed after just one season, joining Reading in the Championship for a reported fee of £1.2 million.

Although his stay was short, McNulty will be remembered fondly for his incredible form all season long, which kickstarted Coventry’s rise back up the leagues. They were subsequently promoted to the Championship in 2020.

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