22nd Apr, 2018

INTERVIEW: Competition for team places high at Coventry City ahead of Exeter clash

Shaun Reynolds 12th Jan, 2018 Updated: 12th Jan, 2018

FOOTBALL: COMPETITION for a starting place is providing Coventry City boss Mark Robins with a ‘nice problem’.

Defender Rod McDonald is fit to re-join the Sky Blues on the pitch after spending four weeks out with a shoulder injury while Liam Kelly and Peter Vincenti have returned to training.

New signing Josh Barrett is also listed to travel to Exeter this afternoon, though Robins will make a final decision later today.

Speaking this morning, Robins said he hopes a selection headache will became more of a ‘problem’ in the coming weeks.

“Selection is a decision all the time,” said Robins.

“Hopefully that will become more the case.

“Liam (Kelly) and Peter (Vincenti) are back training. Those two will add competition, and that’s something we need in the coming weeks and months.

“It’s great for Tom (Davies) to be getting time on the pitch. But Rod (McDonald) is fit and right again. Those are the nice problems for us.

“Lee (Burge) is fine. The two goalkeepers are pushing each other. The one I feel is playing the best will get the nod. That’s what having a squad is all about.

“We’ll have to wait on Josh (Barrett). He’s trained twice.

“We’ll have another look at him today (Friday) and then make a decision. But he’s down to travel.”

Despite causing the shock of the FA Cup third round when beating Stoke City at the Ricoh Arena last weekend, Robins revealed his side have knuckled down to prepare for two crucial league fixtures.

The Sky Blues face promotion candidates Exeter City and Swindon Town in the next week, games which are likely to have a significant outcome on the league table at the end of the season.

Robins said: “Everybody enjoyed the performance and the result.

“But it’s a case of back to work and that’s what the lads have done. They’ve worked hard this week.

“Tomorrow is a tough away game. We aim to build on the confidence already built.

“Three points separate us to tenth placed Swindon. It’s very tight.

“Last year the pressure was different, but this year we’re in a place where there is reason to be excited.

“The key is to be more consistent than the teams around us.

“We have two good games before an FA Cup tie.”

And the manager was quick to pile praise on Exeter boss Paul Tisdale, who Robins played with FC Panionios in the late 90s.

“Paul has done well at Exeter,” said Robins.

“They turn over plenty of players but give youngsters the opportunity too.

“Him and Steve Perryman have done a very good job.

“Their pitch isn’t the best. But you have to adapt. Teams that do that will come out on top.

“This league is all about strength, power and pace. There’s some good stuff played, but the way football is played in this division is relentless.”

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