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Leicester City 11/12 Opponents Preview – Coventry

I now focus on Leicester City’s arch rivals Coventry City in preview eight, with this feature being the latest of many what can Coventry City bring to the Npower Championship this season, with years of growing demise can Coventry turn fortunes around in the 2011/2012 campaign and eventually challenge for a top ten finish, or will the club who is currently in turmoil behind the scenes eventually bow out of the Championship and into League 1…

Coventry Preview
Coventry City might well have to deal with the daunting task of a deadly relegation battle, Leicester City’s rivals have been hit tremendously hard behind the scenes, and because of this the Sky Blues have failed to make any real important signings. The unknown prospect of Andy Thorn will take charge of Coventry this season; he will have a considerable task on his hands as he will most likely have to contend with a distressing campaign on and off the pitch. Coventry in recent years has always started well at the beginning of Championship seasons, but always fail to keep to the level they showed at the start. With two signings only being made, Coventry have failed to replace striker Marlon King and highly rated midfielder Arron Gunnarsson, a lot of pressure will be on numerous players this season as the likes of Freddy Eastwood, Lukas Jutkiewicz and Gary McSheffrey will have to step up to the plate. The Sky Blues may well be put to the sword in 2011/2012, in what may be their final campaign as an Npower Championship outfit.

Key Players
With the highly evaluated goalkeeper Kieren Westwood departing for Premier League Sunderland, new signing Joe Murphy will have some very big shoes to fill. Murphy whose contract expired with Scunthorpe at the end of last season now joins Coventry as their new number one. The 29 year old is a fantastic shot stopper, also very vocal Murphy is a very commanding goalkeeper who should fit right into the Coventry number one jersey like a duck to water. Central defender Ben Turner was one of the most improved figures in last season’s Coventry side, the lean centre half played a pivotal role for Andy Thorn’s side as his strong presence and threat from set pieces were certainly mastered in 10/11, Coventry fans will be hoping that Turner can re find that form in 11/12. Lastly captain Sammy Clingan and winger Gary McSheffrey will also have massive parts to play, Clingan is the thorn in the centre of midfield for Coventry City, a great passer of the ball and a tough tackler, the 27 year old will need to continue his form aswell as Gary McSheffrey who is always a dangerous opponent to any opposition defences, capable of scoring goals and creating chances the 28 year old will be a key player this season.

Manager – Andy Thorn
The Coventry chairman Ken Delieu may have well taken a big risk in appointing Andy Thorn as the new manager of the Sky Blues, an uncertainty could well be brewing over the appointment of the inexperienced Thorn as all aspirations for the season ahead have been left in his hands. Thorn joined Coventry as chief scout; however with the shock departure of Aidy Boothroyd the 44 year old was then appointed assistant manager of the Sky Blues, in April 2011 Delieu decided to appoint Thorn on a full time basis. This will be his first full season in management with a club who seems to be on the ropes financial wise, also for Thorn his immediate task is to raise the gates at the Ricoh Arena as many fans have recently given up hope of a play-off finish or a return to the Premier League. Thorn has a tremendous task to deal with, can he spring a suprise as the manager of Coventry, or will he be heading out of the exit door early on in the season?

Coventry City manager Andy Thorn prior to kick-off

Ins and Outs
Ins – Chris Dunn(Northampton), Joe Murphy(Scunthorpe)

Outs – Marlon King(Birmingham), Kieren Westwood(Sunderland), Stephen O’Halloran(Carlisle), Isaac Osbourne(Aberdeen), Arron Gunnarsson(Cardiff), Michael Quirke(Released), Lee Carsley(Released), Michael McIndoe(Released)

Overall Thoughts
Coventry City are a side that is struggling financially, with only two players being signed and no new outfield players coming in, it looks highly likely they they will be involved in a relegation battle. No replacement for Marlon King means that Coventry could struggle to find the net, and with Arron Gunnarsson and Lee Carsley departing aswell the Sky Blues have lost bite in their midfield. The Ricoh Arena could well be a depressing place to be this season, relegation is a possibility but Coventry fans will be hoping for another low but stable finish; however I can’t see that happening. Prediction – 21st

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