COVENTRY City will look to maintain their perfect home record when they take on Derby County at the Coventry Building Society Arena tomorrow afternoon.
The Sky Blues have won all six of their home matches this term – since returning to their home city after two seasons playing at St Andrew’s.
And City’s home form has propelled the club up to fourth place in the Sky Bet Championship table – just three points away from the automatic promotion places.
Their opponents Derby have endured a difficult season off the pitch after being deducted 12 points for entering administration last month – which the club have since appealed.
Despite their struggles behind the scenes – Wayne Rooney’s side have defied the odds on the pitch having lost just once in their last seven matches.
The Rams find themselves bottom of the table on four points which leaves them seven points from safety – pending the outcome of their appeal against the points deduction.
Coventry have taken one point from their last two matches having come from behind to draw with Blackburn Rovers before surrendering a lead to lose at Preston North End in midweek.
Tyler Walker has impressed in the absence of Matty Godden scoring in each of his last two league games to kickstart his season and give manager Mark Robins a selection headache.
Derby have made themselves difficult to beat this campaign – having drawn more matches (7) than any other side in the division.
The Rams are unbeaten in their last four league games and have conceded only two goals in that period – both of which came in their 2-2 draw at home to Luton Town in midweek.
Coventry should have almost all of their first-team players available to choose from with Matty Godden returning from suspension – after he was retrospectively banned for a dive against Fulham.
Derby are set to be without Sam Baldock (broken nose), Craig Forsyth (illness) and Krystian Bielik (anterior cruciate ligament).
WHAT THE MANAGERS SAID
Sky Blues boss Robins feels the Rams league position is misleading given their points deduction and praised the Derby coaching staff for the job they have done this season.
Robins told ccfc.co.uk: “They’ve been playing some good football, they’ve got a way of playing and some good players.
“They’ve been focusing on themselves, regardless of their position, it’s false, they would be in 16th place if the points were added back on.
“We know we have to show that energy, first and foremost, and the quality we undoubtedly have.
“Obviously he [Rooney] looks comfortable in his skin and always has done, he’s got good people working with him as well.
“Liam Rosenior is a really good talented coach with good ideas and he’s got good people around him who assist him really well.
“He’s got them playing in a good attractive way so their supporters are behind him and obviously enjoying how things are going on the field.”
Derby assistant manager Liam Rosenior was full of praise for the Sky Blues and was pleased to see the club return to their home city this season.
Rosenior told dcfc.co.uk: “They are back playing in Coventry and that is great for them.
“That football club has a lot of traditions and it’s great to see a fan base that seem revitalised after all the hard times that they have had.
“I think Mark Robins has done an outstanding job but they’ve got outstanding individuals.
“They have got real attacking threats throughout the side, they have a really strong back five who will be very difficult to break down but we know we can.
“We know we are in for a tough game. We do our analysis on every team and I think Mark Robins has got them playing some really good football.”
Coventry – Callum O’Hare – The Sky Blues playmaker will have to be at his very best on Saturday afternoon with Derby notoriously tough to break down.
O’Hare has assisted more goals (3) than any other City player this season and will need to ensure his decision-making in the final third is on point to penetrate the Derby defence.
Derby – Curtis Davies – The 36-year-old has been a rock at the back for Derby this season and has also popped up with two crucial goals to pose a threat from set-pieces.
Davies has helped the Rams record five clean sheets this season and is one of the league’s most experienced players having made over 500 appearances in league football.
City have won each of their last three home league matches against Derby – the Rams last victory at the CBS Arena came back in April 2010.
The Sky Blues went unbeaten against Wayne Rooney’s side last season after drawing 1-1 at Pride Park thanks to Gus Hamer’s injury-time equaliser.
City then won the reverse fixture 1-0 at St Andrew’s courtesy of Max Biamou’s early strike which would prove to be the striker’s last home goal for the club.
Sky Blues 2-0 Derby – City have looked invincible at home this season and should extend their superb winning run to seven matches tomorrow afternoon.
Coventry’s match against Derby gets underway at 3pm on Saturday, October 23 at the CBS Arena.
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