FOOTBALL: COVENTRY kid Ivor Lawton has not given up all hope of playing for his beloved Sky Blues again, but he is keeping his options open as he looks to get his promising career back on track.
The 21-year-old is still a familiar face at Ryton having been training with his boyhood club since January after his short term deal expired in the new year.
Lawton failed to impress former manager Russell Slade after returning from a series knee injury which he picked up just days after making his first team debut, keeping him out of action for a year.
Now back to full fitness, the Sky Blues academy graduate is hoping to impress returning manager Robins while also keeping his options wide open elsewhere.
“I think I can bring something good to this team but I need to be given a chance,” Lawton told the Observer.
“If I don’t get a chance here then I’ll have to take a chance elsewhere. It’s as simple as that because I need to start looking after myself now. I’m still working hard everyday so I’ve just got to keep doing it for myself.
“I’ve had a little chat with the new manager. I’m still training at Coventry now and he hasn’t seen me play yet so he might like what he sees as well.
“When Robins was here last time I was playing for the Under-18s and he saw me in a youth cup game. Back in the day he was a big fan of me but I haven’t really had a chance to prove myself to him yet.
“I’ve spoken to him and said ‘look, I’m going to keep playing here, if you can have a look at me I’d appreciate’. It’s a new manager and I’m treating it like I’m on trial here again.”
Lawton first joined the Sky Blues as a six-year-old after being spotted by a scout while playing for his local team Mount Nod.
The box-to-box midfielder rose through the club’s successful youth academy and his impressive performances for the Under-21s earned him the opportunity train with the first team under former boss Steven Pressley.
When Tony Mowbray joined the Sky Blues as permanent manager in May 2015, he described Lawton has someone who had the potential to become an ‘iconic’ player for Coventry City.
Mowbray handed Lawton, who grew up in the Allesley Park area of the city, his first competitive appearance when he came on as a second half substitute in a 4-3 penalty shoot-out defeat at Yeovil Town in the Football League Trophy back in October 2015.
But his career suffered a major setback when he picked up a serious knee injury just days after making his debut.
The young midfielder was given a six-month contract last summer summer and after returning to action for the development squad, he had hopes of impressing new manager Slade.
“I got on well with Russell Slade,” Lawton continued. “But I don’t think I was in his plans to be honest, he obviously didn’t use me.”
After failing to get close to the first team, Lawton has decided to keep his options open and look elsewhere in bid to kick-start his career.
“I’m building up my fitness here. I’m still on trial at Port Vale and I’m going back next week for a game.
“I’ve got a couple of options at the minute that I’m looking at.
“My two weeks at Port Vale went really well but when it came to the trial game it was so bad. The standard was so poor. I didn’t really get involved to be honest.
“It wasn’t the best game for me. It was one of those games where the ball was being kicked anywhere. The gaffer said after the game that he couldn’t really judge be on that performance, so he’s called me back for another game.”
Many Sky Blues fans were excited to see Lawton back in the club’s colours on Monday evening when he played for the Under-23s in a 3-1 defeat away at Hull City.
Lawton played 76 minutes and is hoping his performance caught the eye of the City coaches or any potential scouts at the KCOM Stadium.
“I was meant to play a game for Port Vale on Wednesday but they told me it was going to be next week, so I thought it was against Hull away at their stadium.
“I thought it would be a good game to get some minutes under my belt and you never who is watching at a stadium game. So I thought it would be a good game to play.
“I could have played on longer for another 30 minutes on Monday. I felt really good. I came off after 75-80 minutes because the Under-23s manager didn’t want to risk me playing any longer.
“But I felt brilliant. I am fit and ready I’m just waiting for a club to give me a chance really.”
Lawton hinted that there has been offers to drop down to non-league level, with Solihull Moors expressing an interest in his services.
And now at the age of 21, Coventry kid knows he must do what is best for his career which looks likely to be away from the Sky Blues.
He added: “My priority now is to be getting games and I’ll go anywhere to get that really.
“I preferably don’t want to drop down too low but if it means going to play in non-league football then I’ll do that because it’s still a good standard down there. You see many players going down and coming back up.
“It’s important for me now to be playing week in, week out. I need to be playing football so I can start enjoying it again and so I can show people what I can do.”