COVENTRY City face what most will regard as a ‘must win’ game tonight against an in-form Bury side.
The Shakers from greater Manchester are so far applying their own relegation escape plans with more success than the Sky Blues, whose recent spell of good form with a four-point return was aborted on Saturday with a disappointing 3-1 home reverse to fellow League One strugglers Swindon Town.
Meanwhile, Bury landed an important 1-0 win at Charlton, with veteran 38-year-old striker Ryan Lowe grabbing the only goal.
It was their third win in four games, which included crucial victories in six-pointers against relegation rivals Chesterfield and Swindon – both feats that Coventry City have failed to pull off.
The Shakers are also unbeaten in their previous four home games at Gigg Lane, where performances included an impressive 5-1 victory against play-off chasing Peterborough United.
It is Bury manager Lee Clark’s first game in charge. He is the former Birmingham City manager and former tenacious Newcastle United midfielder.
The Sky Blues are desperate for three points, with 13 games to go. They are bottom of League One, 11 points below safety and five places below Bury, but with a game in hand.
Of Bury, Sky Blues boss Russell Slade said: “They can mix their play up a little more than Swindon, but they’ve got experience in the right areas. Antony Kay at the back is a very experienced defender as he is now – he’s played midfield of course as well.
“They’ve got Ryan Lowe with a lot of experience at the front and Tom Pope is a big strong strike, so they have good experience.
“They seem to have dropped in to a system where they play three at the back now and they seem to know their jobs and what they’re doing. They have got a big squad, and different options to choose from with a variety of experience.
“They’ve picked up in recent weeks and there are no easy games in League One.”
Slade, as we reported yesterday, has hinted at defensive changes and other small changes throughout the team.
Captain Jordan Willis is set to return after injury, and Farrend Rawson could make a return to a central berth in a back four.
Midfielder Ruben Lameiras has been brought back into the 20-man squad, striker Stuart Beavon could make his first start since injury, and recent substitute Yakubu is injured.
Don’t forget you can follow all the action live from Gigg Lane through our live blog – visit www.coventryobserver.co.uk