Survival the priority for Coventry City ahead of Preston North End clash

Coventry City look well placed to secure a second season at Championship level and a result against Preston North End would confirm it.

By Tom Sandells
Friday, 23rd April 2021, 12:30 pm

It has been a rollercoaster few season for the Sky Blues, both on the pitch and off it.

Their home stadium has been a talking point for a number of years, North End preparing to travel to Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s to face Mark Robins’ side.

Their usual home of the Ricoh Arena has been the subject of many a debate but thankfully for the City fans, they are heading back there from next season.

Maxime Biamou celebrates scoring Coventry's second goal in their 3-2 win over Stoke City on Wednesday.

Saturday’s game will be the third different ground this fixture has been played on in three games – previously at the Ricoh, Sixfields (Northampton Town’s home) and now St Andrew’s.

Financial issues have also been a concern for Coventry but amidst that and not having a home, they have succeeded.

Robins has guided the club from League Two to Championship survival in four seasons.

A play-off win in the fourth tier was followed by an eighth-placed berth in League One and then a league title the season after.

Coventry currently sit a point behind PNE and look all but assured to be facing off against the Lilywhites again next season.

It has not been plain sailing for them, however, and seeing off the threat of relegation has been the main focus for this season.

They have found form at a good time to help see out the season and calm the nerves going into the final games.

City have now won three games on the bounce, with a 3-2 win over Stoke City in midweek.

Tyler Walker scored against the Potters, which made him Coventry’s joint top scorer this season, though he and Matt Godden each only have six to their name.

The pair also have provided two assists.

Their main performer comes in the shape of Dutch midfielder Gustavo Hamer.

The club’s record signing is a tenacious enforcer in front of the backline generally but he also has technical ability to boot.

His five goals from the middle of the park is a decent return, given that the strikers are only just ahead of him in the scoring charts.

Saturday’s two sides will likely match each other up.

Coventry play the same 3-5-2-type formation as PNE, which interim head coach Frankie McAvoy has settled on.

North End played that system in the reverse fixture in December of last year.

Daniel Johnson and Sean Maguire got the goals in a 2-0 win for the Lilywhites, It will be a much different test for Coventry this time around – three starters from that day have now left the club, with Paul Gallagher now solely in a coaching capacity as well.

Two further players from the bench at the turn of the year have also departed PNE.

Josh Earl, Ben Davies and Darnell Fisher all started, with Josh Harrop and Jayden Stockley unused subs.

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