Meet the opposition | Coventry City

16th December 2022
First team
Jamie O'Hara for Swans

Swansea City travel to Coventry City on Saturday in their first away trip since the resumption of the Championship following the World Cup break. Here, we take a closer look at the Sky Blues.

Here we take a closer look at their form, history and key figures.

What’s their story?

A photo of Coventry v Gillingham from the 1950s

Singers FC was formed in 1883 by a group of men at the Singer Factory Gentleman’s Club, and five years later they changed the team name to Coventry City. After 11 years competing in the Southern League, they were elected to the Football League in 1919.

Between 1925 and 1958 Coventry spent their time between non-league and the EFL but, under the guidance of manager Jimmy Hill, they manufactured a meteoric rise in the early 1960s and reached the top tier for the first time in 1967.

The Sky Blues remained there for 34 years before suffering relegation in 2001. They dropped to Sky Bet League One just over a decade later and, in 2017, they were relegated to League Two.

The appointment of Mark Robbins as manager (for the second time) proved to be a shrewd one. They spent just one season in the fourth tier under him before earning promotion via the play-offs in 2018. The Sky Blues went on to become champions of the curtailed 2019-20 League One season on a points per game basis.

They have impressed since returning to the second tier and were play-off contenders last term.

Coventry's only major trophy came in 1987 when they defeated Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 to win the FA Cup, with Keith Houchen's diving header proving one of the iconic Wembley goals.

How’s their form?

Coventry City celebration

Very good. They have picked up 12 points in the past six games, which puts them fourth in the form table over that period of time.

That run included wins over Blackburn Rovers, Watford, Wigan Athletic, and Queens Park Rangers, however they returned from the World Cup break with a defeat to Reading last weekend.

Coventry’s league position has been misleading throughout the campaign as they were forced to postpone a number of their early home matches due to the pitch at the Coventry Building Society Arena being deemed unplayable due to use during the Commonwealth Games.

They have been playing catch-up ever since and still have two games in hand over most teams, and lie just five points off the top six.

Who’s the gaffer?

Coventry manager Mark Robins wears club coat while watching his team

Mark Robins. The 52-year-old (he will turn 53 just five days after Saturday’s match) came through the ranks at Manchester United and made around 50 appearances for the club before moving on to Norwich City. He played more than 400 games in a 17-year playing career, but is best known for time with the Canaries and Leicester City.

The striker scored more than 100 career goals and took his first steps into management in 2007 when he took the reins at Rotherham United on a caretaker basis. After picking up three wins in six, Robins was given the role permanently and went on to have two successful campaigns with the Millers.

He left to join their south Yorkshire rivals Barnsley before heading to Coventry for his first spell in charge of the Midlands club. He helped turn the side from relegation battlers to promotion contenders, but soon departed for another Yorkshire side in Huddersfield Town.

In 2014, he took over at struggling Scunthorpe United but was dismissed after only eight games in charge.

He returned to the Sky Blues in March 2017 and guided them to an unexpected EFL Trophy win less than a month later, but he was unable to prevent relegation to the fourth tier.

However, Robins galvanised the club and led them to promotion via the play-offs with a 3-1 win over Exeter City at Wembley the following campaign.

Two seasons later, he led Coventry to the League One title during the curtailed 2019-20 season to make a return to the Championship, where they have performed strongly.

Who is the captain?

Jamie Allen celebrates for Coventry City

Scottish midfielder Liam Kelly was named club captain in February 2019, however, he is yet to feature for the Sky Blues this term.

In his absence, Kyle McFadzean has been wearing the armband, but he was suspended for the side’s most recent outing against Reading and manager Robins has confirmed the centre back is likely to be missing on Saturday due to a calf injury.

Last weekend, midfielder Jamie Allen was named captain and the 27-year-old who is set to take up the armband again against the Swans. The midfielder hails from Rochdale and came through the ranks at his hometown club making 150 appearances.

He made the move to then-Championship outfit Burton Albion before making the move to the Sky Blues in 2019. He has made more than 330 career appearances and so far this term has chipped in with three goals.

Who are the key men?

Close up of Gyokeres celebrating a goal for Coventry City

When it comes to Coventry's attacking threats, look no further than Viktor Gyökeres. The striker - who had a loan spell with the Swans during the 2020-21 season -  has nine goals to his name this season (five more than any of his team-mates) and the joint most in the division.

Gustavo Hamer and Jamie Allen both have five-goal contributions with the latter scoring three and assisting two while Hamer has scored four goals and made one.

Midfielder Callum O’Hare was the stand-out performer in Sky Blue last term and he has carried that form into this season. A lively attacking presence, he is often instrumental to Coventry's attacks.

Former Arsenal player Ben Sheaf is industrious in the middle of the park, keeping them ticking over and sweeping up play to allow the flare players ahead of him to cause problems.

As technically gifted as you would expect of a Gunners' academy product, he made his senior debut against Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League back in 2017.

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