28th Feb, 2017

Former Premier League star Yakubu determined to help goal-shy Sky Blues beat the drop

FOOTBALL: HE COMES to the Sky Blues with a big reputation as one of the best foreign goal-scoring imports in English football having found the back of the net almost 100 times as a Premier League striker, and now Yakubu is confident he can solve Russell Slade’s crisis in front of goal and fire the club to League One safety.

The 34-year-old completed his move to the Ricoh Arena last week having impressed manager Slade while on trial, and he came off the bench to make his debut in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw away at AFC Wimbledon.

So far the Sky Blues have scored just 26 goals in 31 league games and after returning to England following a spell with Turkey Kayserispor last season, Yakubu is eager to help Coventry’s cause.

“I always believe I can score,” Yakubu told the Observer. “No matter what league I’m in whenever I get the ball I always believe.

“There’s always pressure when you come to a club and everyone believes in you. You don’t want to let them down, you don’t want to let yourself down.

“I still believe I can still do it. Why not? Even if I don’t score I can try to help the team but I believe I can score goals in this league.”

“I’m fit, I’m ready to go and I believe I can score goals and help the team.”

A lack of match fitness remains a concern, with Yakubu making his last competitive appearance for Kayserispor back in April last year

Since then the ‘Yak’ has been training with National League South side Boreham Wood to retain his fitness but the former Nigeria international played down any worries about his current fitness levels.

“For me even when I’m not playing I always like to keep fit. In football you never know what’s going to happen.

“If you just sit at home and don’t train then it’s going to be so difficult to come back. But I’ve still kept my fitness by training every week, doing some gym work and things like that to keep fit.

“It’s good to be training everyday with these guys now and getting more fitter everyday. Hopefully I can help the team.”

Many people in the footballing world saw the signing of Yakubu as something of a coup for the Sky Blues, especially given their current position 11 points adrift at the bottom of League One

The former Middlesbrough, Everton and Blackburn striker, who scored 96 goals in 253 Premier League appearances, admitted he had been tempted by offers both in the UK and abroad, but Coventry ticked all the boxes for Yakubu who plans to end his career in England.

“My agent called me and said for me to go to Coventry and to give it a go. I said ‘why not’.

“I’ve been in England for so many years. While I have been free I’ve had some offers outside of England but I decided to stay in England and look for the best option.

“I spoke to a couple of clubs but none of them were right or me. I think Coventry was good for me, to play every week and to help the team and get my fitness back, then we’ll see how we go for next season as well.

“I came here last week and spoke to the manager. He was really pleased to see me and he wants me. It’s good to go to a place where they want you and I didn’t think twice.

“This is the best place for me to be at the moment to train and to play. I like it here so it’s been good.”

Yakubu is no stranger to the environment of a relegation battle. While at Portsmouth his goals helped Harry Redknapp’s side maintain their Premier League status back in 2005, and seven years later at Blackburn he experienced the drop as Rovers were relegated to the Championship.

Despite having been with the Sky Blues for a short period, Yakubu is convinced he has seen enough to believe the club an retain its League One status.

“It’s not going to be easy but you have to believe, he added. “You have to give everything in the game.

“Every home game you need to win if you want to stay up.

“There’s lots of good young players here as well, they listen and it’s good to be here.

“These guys need to keep working every day in training, keep giving the same again and I think we can stay up this season.

“The confidence is there with the players and hopefully we can get three points this week.

“Coventry was one of the bigger clubs in the country. It’s a shame to see them in League One – they need to get back to where they belong.”

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