24th Sep, 2020

Rotation a possibility for Rovers replay, says Robins

Ben Tyler 6th Jan, 2020

MARK Robins has hinted that he will look to squad rotation when Coventry City go head-to-head with Bristol Rovers in next Tuesday’s (7.45pm) FA Cup third round replay – following a 2-2 draw last Saturday.

The Sky Blues twice came from behind at the Memorial Stadium, with Liam Walsh cancelling out Jonson Clarke-Harris’ opener from the spot, while Rovers’ Tony Craig ironically cancelled out his own 32nd-minute strike with a second-half own goal.

Despite falling just short of a third win in three on the road over the festive period, Robins is content with a second shot at the fourth round and ensuring Coventry’s name remains in the draw.

“I’m frustrated because we gave up two goals,” he said.

“We looked bright, then they got a penalty. It’s not a great start when you find yourself 1-0 down.

“We kept playing and were really a bit of quality finishing away from the win.

“We can be happy we’re still in the hat, we get to see a preview of what’s ahead if we get through.”

And with Coventry facing three matches in the space of a week – with Saturday’s (3pm) home fixture with MK Dons prefacing a trip to Doncaster Rovers the following weekend – the Sky Blues manager is open to the idea of changing up his side in the midweek replay.

“People talk about the extra games, but we don’t mind it,” Robins said.

“It’s good practice – players need games. The replay comes at a time where we have a few tough games, so the squad might be used.”

After a golden opportunity for Zain Westbrooke went to waste inside the opening minute, the hosts were awarded a penalty following Kyle McFadzean’s foul on Tom Nichols.

It allowed Clarke-Harris to stroke the ball home on six minutes, prior to a Coventry onslaught that resulted in Walsh’s stunning leveller from the edge of the penalty area on the half-hour mark.

But seconds later, the Gas restored their lead when captain Craig headed home.

An open second half prompted chances for both sides, but it was the Sky Blues who struck next when Walsh’s shot was diverted into Rovers’ net by Craig on 53 minutes.

And when a late opportunity for Matt Godden went to waste in stoppage time, the final whistle confirmed that the two sides will have do it all again at St Andrews.

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