Crucial Clash – Coventry Preview

By Sam Stone

Pompey travel to Birmingham on Tuesday night to face promotion chasing Coventry in a crucial clash in the promotion battle.

Pompey are coming off another impressive win; this time against a spirited Tranmere, whilst Coventry secured a last gasp victory against lowly Bolton. A win for either side will put them in pole position to make a sustained assault on the automatic promotion places.

Pompey’s win at Tranmere was another vintage Kenny Jackett away performance; Pompey riding their luck, being clinical and remaining solid when they need to be.

Pompey have picked up three clean sheets in as many games. The emerging ‘cult’ hero, Sean Raggett and ever-present Christian Burgess have given Jackett’s men an edge defensively and offensively.

Raggett has a knack of making some vital interceptions and clearances and also notched his first goal for the club on Saturday from a pinpoint Ronan Curtis cross.

Burgess and Raggett will, without a doubt, face some lengthy pressure on Tuesday, due to Coventry’s home form and the way they play.

If they continue their recent impenetrable form and provide Pompey a good attacking outlet, they could be vital in determining where the points go.

Another key man in this tight contest will be Ronan Curtis. The Irishman has four assists in his last two games. Three of those coming from set plays. The wide-man’s dead ball quality along with Steve Seddon, has been the main catalyst for Pompey’s defenders propelling themselves up the goal charts.

Coventry are likely to be Pompey’s toughest assignment in League One this season. The Sky Blues have the second-best home record in the division behind Pompey.

They seem very much at home in Birmingham. Pompey fans will not want to be reminded of the meeting between the two-sides earlier in the season. Pompey managing to squander a 3-1 lead against nine men; Kenny Jackett’s toughest time as Pompey manager.

Having seen Coventry play towards the back end of last season, as well as the start of this one, they are comfortably one of the better footballing sides in the league.

Kelly in the midfield ran the game at Fratton last season and they have pace going forward as well as a clinical edge in former Pompey target Matt Godden.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Coventry heavily dominate the ball on Tuesday and Pompey sit back and hope to catch them on the break.

Pompey will be without the instrumental Andy Cannon due to a glute injury, however Cameron McGeehan can slot into the no10 position and has the ability to provide the same tenacity as Cannon.

I have no doubts that both managers would both be happy with a point given Pompey’s recent form and Coventry’s success at home.

I feel that Coventry will create and carve open Pompey on the odd occasion but also feel that Pompey have the plenty of outlets to cause the Sky Blues issues. Set-pieces, counter attacks and also the ability to apply some sustained pressure.

I believe this will be a well contested affair by two excellent League One sides, and I feel the points will be shared, with Pompey taking the lead early and then Coventry building some pressure in the later period of the game and equalise.


Photo: Losing My Sight