THE SKY Blues head to the south coast on Saturday for a rare FA Cup Fifth Round appearance on the back of three straight league defeats which threatens to derail their season.
The alarming collapse in form ahead of the trip to Premier League club Brighton and Hove Albion continued on Tuesday night with a 2-1 defeat at Colchester United.
It followed a miserable, seemingly spiritless 2-0 home defeat against promotion rivals Accrington Stanley, when the Sky Blues were hoping to impress a record League Two crowd of 28,000, packed into the Ricoh on cheap and free tickets for “Community Day”.
The dreadful run, which has seen Coventry City drop out of not just the automatic promotion top-three positions but the play-off spots too, began with a similarly flat performance at Forest Green. It came after last month’s momentous 1-0 win at League One MK Dons which had tee-ed up this week’s historic Fifth Round fixture.
While it is unclear whether the cup run has harmed the Sky Blues’ league form, extra fixtures could not have helped as the camp has been hit by injuries and a virus, which particularly affected the side against the Accies.
Boss Mark Robins is making no excuses, however.
He was critical of his team and individual performances at Colchester, after young midfielder Tom Bayliss’s long-range equaliser during an improved second-half display was nullified by a late Mikael Mandron winner for an Essex side which featured the Sky Blues academy graduate Ben Stevenson on loan, after his sale to Wolves last month.
Robins said on Tuesday night: “This is that stage of the season where we have to see games out.
“When we were in the ascendency and we looked like we were going to go on and win the game. I was pleased with that.
“We have to defend properly at the other end though, and we allowed a cross at the other end to get into the box and we allowed them to get first contact.
“We were weak mentally and we did not react. I am really disappointed.”
“We have got players missing, that is not an excuse, it is what it is.
“Then we have got players making silly mistakes. Ridiculous mistakes.
“We do not play like that. The players know exactly how we play. The second half we did play how we know. They were on the back foot, but we did not stick the knife in and finish them off.
“I do not think they deserved to win that game. In the second half we were the better team.
“We were so close to punishing them but instead we pay the price.”
“Confidence is short in one of two of them and I think they are feeling sorry for themselves. I do not care. They need to come out and give their everything for the shirt.”
He added: “We need to hang in there. We have the cup game on Saturday and then we get back into it because then the real time starts.
“We have Wycombe, Mansfield and Lincoln in a week. That is the time that we need to be picking points up. It is a disappointing way to head into the cup game but we get a little break now from the league.”