Woo, finally. The away game I’ve been looking forward to the most all season, purely because I still hold the final 7 minutes of the last fixture at Vicarage Road in such high regard. We were downright awful that day, but how often do we pull back two goals in any match, let alone the final stages? Unprecedented behaviour for modern day Coventry, that.
I remember it well. Clive Platt coming on to change the entire game. David Bell doing something useful and scoring a rocket. Richard Keogh diving like a swine to win us that last minute penalty, and dear Lukas slamming it home to send us all barmy. Effing magic.
Since then, I can’t help but use those final minutes as inspiration whenever we’re losing. No matter how shocking we’ve been – and let’s face it, we’re were abysmal for the most part that day – there’s still a chance you can pull things back, even that late in the game.
Our status has altered dramatically since then, but if the last visit to Watford is anything to go by (it’s probably not) then Vicarage Road makes a good place for this miraculous leap from relegation to begin.
How are they getting on?
Generally, they’re having a bit of Coventry season of old. 15th place (how we’d rejoice that now) leaves them on 47 points and pretty much safe from any thought of relegation, whilst relying on winning every remaining game if they were to make a ludicrous charge for the play-offs. It seems a little too early for mid-table mediocrity for any club (especially for the Championship), but in Watford, that’s where they find themselves.
You could say that sort of mindset might play into our hands, but they’re unbeaten in the last three, winning two of those, with all of them impressive results. A home win against Burnley has been swiftly followed by a draw at Upton Park against West Ham and then a win on the road against Derby.
They’ve definitely got the feel-good factor.
Who could cause us trouble?
Having lost top scorer Marvin Sordell to Bolton in the transfer window, the worry for Watford was they’d struggle to find a similar threat. Turns out, Troy Deeney doesn’t mind Marvin being gone, and has hit a decent period of form, with four in seven. Okay, Messi hasn’t got any worries, but when you compare it to Platt and Nimely, it’s positively prolific.
Another player amongst the goals lately is young midfielder Sean Murray, with two in his last two appearances, so don’t be surpised to see him with the scoring bug and making every effort to continue his hot streak.
It’d be remiss of me not to mention former City youngster John Eustace (who left the club prematurely if you ask me) but has made a decent fist of his career since then, and is once again primed to cause us hassle in some form. His goal in the same fixture last year was part fluke, part brilliance, but he’s good enough to boss the game against us if he feels that way inclined. He’s done it plenty of times before.
Sky Blues team news
We’ve been struck by some knocks and niggles, with Gary McSheffrey, Cody McDonald and David Bell all causing some concern (some more than most). Carl Baker’s also going to be out for the rest of the season with a jippy hamstring. I’ve noted the upset this appears to have caused everyone, especially those under the impression that a good performance last week means he’s suddenly fantastic, all over again. I’m annoyed at the impact his injury has on the team dynamic more than anything else.
We all know Carl Baker by now, and yes, he did very well last week before hobbling off. I can’t and won’t begrudge him that. But he’s not going to play like that every week, and the chance of him putting in the same performance two games in a row is unlikely. The idea that he was coming in to form struck me as a bit of a hopeful one. He needed a couple more good games to justify that.
But anyway, the doubts over all these players leaves us with a bit of a predicament on the right side of midfield. Conor Thomas filled the void left by Baker against Birmingham, and looked uncomfortably out of position. True, he had a good effort saved, but a right winger he ain’t. We could do with looking at other options.
All sorts of ideas have been bandied about. How about Cyrus ahead of Clarke? Or dropping Alex Nimely to the right? I’m cautious about both of those approaches, but looking at the options, there aren’t many alternatives. This is one decision I’m quite happy to sit back and see what Thorn and Harrison come up with – nothing’s ideal, and I don’t know what I think’s best.
Clive’s also been lying down for most of the week to make sure he doesn’t snap in half before the game. Fingers crossed.
I’ve been on the money with my last few predictions, but this one really is tricky. Typically, we’re desperate for three points (as we have been in the previous 17 away games) but I see yet another draw this time around. 1 – 1.