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Club News

LEAGUE ONE SPOTLIGHT - COVENTRY CITY

28 May 2013

Coventry City is our featured team in our most recent spotlight article

Having already put the spotlight on Sheffield United and Swindon Town in the past seven days, we turn attention this time to the 1987 FA Cup Winners, Coventry City.


The Sky Blues, despite their much publicised financial difficulties, still had a decent 2012/13 campaign having finished in 15th position with 55 points.


They would have secured a top-half finish had it not been for the 10 point deduction they incurred for going in to administration in March.


Former Manchester United striker Mark Robins seemed on course to guiding Coventry to a play-off position, but before City received their deduction he took over at Championship side Huddersfield Town, following the departure of Mark Lillis in February.


Lee Carsley had a brief spell as caretaker boss before Steven Pressley was appointed Manager on a permanent basis in March.


He becomes the 11th Coventry boss in 12 years (excluding caretakers) and he will be hoping to guide the club back to the Championship at the second time of asking.


However this will have to be done away from the Ricoh Arena after the club’s Chief Executive confirmed there was `no chance` of staying at the venue following a well-documented fall-out with the stadium owners regarding unpaid rent.


A new stadium is set to be built, but in the meantime a ground share will have to take place as the club looks for a new location in the city. However a venue has yet to be confirmed.


Going back through their history and it would be hard to pinpoint a better occasion for the supporters than their FA Cup success over Tottenham Hotspur.


In what is regarded as one of the best finals ever played, the game went to extra time at Wembley with a Gary Mabbutt own goal deciding proceedings as Coventry eventually lifted the trophy as 3-2 winners.


Shortly afterwards came the creation of the inaugural Premier League, and Coventry avoided relegation in the 91-92 season from the old First Division to take their place among the elite.


Bobby Gould was the man at the helm but he resigned in October 1993 to be replaced by Phil Neal. However with the club battling against relegation in the 94-95 season he was sacked.


Ron Atkinson took the reins and, with the help of Gordon Strachan as his assistant, retained Premier League status in 95 and 96 before Strachan took over as Manager - Atkinson becoming Director of Football.


Strachan, now Scotland Manager, did a great job in keeping the club in the top flight until 2001 when their luck finally ran out after defeat to arch rivals Aston Villa.


Strachan left the club as Coventry prepared for life in the Championship, but several Managers came and went as a return to the Premiership eluded them.


Roland Nilsson, Gary McAllister, Eric Black, Peter Reid, Micky Adams, Iain Dowie, Chris Coleman and Aidy Boothroyd all attempted the feat but failed to do so.


Andy Thorn then took over in March of 2011, but unfortunately for him he was unable to keep the team in the Championship, and they were relegated to League One following a home defeat to Doncaster Rovers.


He was sacked soon in to last season to be replaced by Mark Robins, but with him now in the division above the task of regaining Championship football falls on the shoulders of Steven Pressley.


He will be hoping to put the club’s recent history behind them and look to move forward in a new era.

 

As with our other spotlight articles we have compiled a brief overview of the other clubs in npower League One, we start this time with Oldham.

 

OLDHAM

Manager: Lee Johnson

Home stadium: Boundary Park

2012/13 league position: 19th in League One

 

Oldham looked to be heading to League Two in early April, but three straight wins against Preston, Bury and Yeovil gave the club a bit of breathing space, and they exceeded the 50 point mark on the final day of the season after drawing 1-1 with Leyton Orient at the Matchroom Stadium.


That upturn in form could be put down to a change of Manager with Lee Johnson, son of Yeovil Manager Gary Johnson, taking over in mid-march following the departure of Paul Dickov earlier in the year.


With some new signings in the summer and a fresh approach he will be hoping to push on and try to break in to the top half of the table.


In order to try and do that Johnson will want to secure the services of Jose Baxter – the striker scored 13 times in the league last season and his goals could be pivotal to what they achieve next season.



 

John Nutter takes a free-kick against Oldham in 2009 at Priestfield


PETERBOROUGH

Manager: Darren Ferguson

Home Stadium: London Road

2012/13 league position: 22nd (relegated from the Championship)


The Posh suffered heartbreak on the final day of the season after being relegated at Selhurst Park after a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Premiership bound Crystal Palace.


On reflection a draw would have been enough to see the team stay in the second tier, and things were looking good when they went 2-1 up.


However Palace responded and scored twice in the last ten minutes to send Peterborough down.

That was just their second loss in their final 13 games having had a jittery start to their league season.


Ferguson’s side picked up just six points from their first 11 matches, immediately giving themselves a mountain to climb.


Their upturn in form coincided with the loan signing of Jack Payne – the midfielder joining from Gills in January and playing an important part in attempting to steer the club clear of the drop zone.


However, Posh were unable to seal the points they needed and will return to League One after a two year absence. Should they keep Ferguson at the helm they will undoubtedly be among the pre-season favourites to clinch promotion.



Stefan Payne chases down a 50/50 ball in a pre-season friendly


 

PORT VALE

Manager: Micky Adams

Home Stadium: Vale Park

2012/13 league position: 3rd in League Two (automatically promoted to League One)


Having been at the top end of League Two all season it was no real surprise to see Vale promoted, although a stutter towards the end of the campaign nearly saw them fall in to the clutches of the play-offs.


Tom Pope’s 31 league goals were crucial to achieving promotion, and former Gills midfielder Adams will want to hold on to his prized asset as he looks to keep his side in League One.


It was a win for either side in their two fixtures against Gillingham – Martin Allen’s side winning 2-0 at Vale Park before the Valiants returned the favour at MEMS Priestfield Stadium after a 2-1 victory.


Four draws in their final four games were enough to get them over the line as they secured the final automatic promotion spot.



Myles Weston bursts forward against Vale in January

 


PRESTON

Manager:  Simon Grayson

Home Stadium: Deepdale

2012/13 league position:  14th in League One


Although Preston failed to assert themselves as promotion contenders they did have a better 12/13 season having accumulated five more points and finishing a place above what they did during the 2011/12 campaign.


Graham Westley was sacked as Manager in February following an away defeat to Yeovil, and he was replaced by former Leeds boss Simon Grayson who secured a mid-table finish having won three of their last six games.


In the off season he may want to focus attention on acquiring the services of an out and out goal scorer.


Striker Stuart Beavon only managed six during the league season and a clinical finisher could be what they need to push on and challenge for at least a play-off position.


The Gills will travel to Deepdale for the second season running having played there in the FA Cup second round tie in December, Martin Allen’s side suffering a 2-0 defeat.



Adam Birchall runs at the Preston defence in the FA Cup


 

ROTHERHAM

Manager: Steve Evans

Home Stadium: New York Stadium

2012/13 league position: 2nd in League Two (automatically promoted to League One)


A fantastic second half to the season saw Rotherham finish as runners-up to league winning Gillingham, although in both games against the Gills they failed to clinch any points.


At New York Deon Burton’s double helped secure a 2-1 win, and he was on hand again at Priestfield to convert home as the hosts sealed a vital 1-0 victory in their quest for promotion.


However this sparked a fantastic run in as the Millers won their last five games which saw them leap out of the play-offs and climb above Port Vale in to second place.


With an experienced side at his disposal and an impressive home ground, he will be hoping his team can pick up where they left off and comfortably maintain League One status.




 Deon Burton holds off a Rotherham defender in April 


The only way to guarantee your seat at Priestfield for our game against Coventry, and indeed the other five sides mentioned above, is to book your season ticket using the link below.




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