19th Apr, 2019

INTERVIEW: Robins anticipates new arrivals ahead of season opener

FOOTBALL: AT least one new player is expected to arrive at the Sky Blues camp ahead of Saturday’s opening League Two clash against Notts County.

Manager Mark Robins appeared in positive spirits at the Ricoh Arena this afternoon ahead of the new season, which will see Coventry compete in the fourth tier of English football for the first time since 1959.

But Robins insists his side are in ‘good shape’ ahead of Saturday’s home fixture.

He said: “It’s a well balanced squad and we’re looking to add to it.

“It could be an interesting 24 hours. I’m expecting more activity.

“Hopefully we can add one, or maybe two, before the weekend or certainly the next league game.

“There’s still interest in one or two going out on loan. But if one moves out it free money up. We have ongoing negotiations we’re actively pursuing. We’ll see how they develop.”

The gaffer remained realistic about long-term ambitions for the season, though he did underline that ‘winning is important’ and said he has to make sure it happens.

“We would like to win the league,” Robins said.

“The first game is always a good one to win. For me I want to see us graft and work hard.

“It’s not the end of the world if we don’t make a good start. It’s about work rate, energy, and the connectivity between players. If we get that right the result takes care of itself.

“I’m happy with the way things are going. The foundations are there and we need to be challenging.

“Nobody wants to see Coventry in League Two, but that’s reality right now.

“There will be ups and downs – injuries, suspensions. Winning in important to us and we have to make sure it happens.”

Robins’ side have prepared for the campaign with a handful of pre-season friendlies in the UK while also jetting off to Alicante to face French Ligue 2 outfit Valenciennes.

The gaffer said his side would’ve been happy to let the first league game take place two weeks ago – suggesting his men are more than ready for the League Two challenge.

He said: “The season can’t come around quick enough.

“It’s a tough start for us but we’re looking forward to getting out in front of our supporters again.

“Our new recruits will be fine. A lot of them have been there and done that before – they’ve experienced promotions and had good careers to date so far.

“The signings we’ve made are intelligent players with experience. That should put us in a good place with the players we’ve retained and youngsters that have come through. We’re in good shape.

“From day one everyone came in and hit the ground running with fitness and training. The schedule we put together for them has been tough, but good.

“I think they’ve enjoyed it – the hard work. You can tell they’re working hard and feel like they’ve got something out of a session because they’re high fiving each other at the end of it.”

With many new players joining a new-look Sky Blues camp, the former Manchester United striker didn’t rule out using some of the club’s future stars throughout the season in the first team.

He said: “I think they (academy graduates) have done well. Well enough to give me optimism.

“There are some talented young players and we will try to help them knock on the first team door.

“We need hungry people that have to seize the opportunities.”

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