Kee is cen­tre of at­ten­tion for de­fence as Sky Blues plan tac­tics

Coventry Telegraph - - FOOTBALL - By ANDY TURNER Sky Blues Re­porter andy.turner@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Billy Kee Ac­cring­ton’s lethal fin­isher Billy Kee Gor­don Stra­chan’s reign is over

COVEN­TRY City’s out­stand­ing de­fen­sive record will be tested to the max this week­end by Ac­cring­ton’s lethal fin­isher who prides him­self on be­ing fu­elled by beer and crisps.

Billy Kee has been de­scribed by his man­ager as a ‘throw­back cen­tre-for­ward’ and would leave most sports sci­en­tists re­coil­ing in hor­ror.

The 26-year-old has net­ted seven League Two goals this sea­son, eight in all com­pe­ti­tions, fir­ing Stan­ley into the play-off places ahead of this week­end’s clash with Mark Robins’ Sky Blues who have kept an out­stand­ing eight clean sheets in their open­ing 12 league games.

And the hon­est and en­gag­ing striker, who has spo­ken openly about his bat­tle with de­pres­sion, be­lieves he’s not the same player if you take away his beer and crisps.

Most of the for­mer Bur­ton Al­bion and Scun­thorpe striker’s fel­low pro­fes­sion­als live like saints in terms of what they put into their bodies, but Reds boss John Cole­man is happy to turn a blind eye to Kee’s eat­ing and drink­ing habits as long as he con­tin­ues to de­vour League Two de­fences.

“We’ve just moved house and I walked in with a bag of crisps and you get told ‘you shouldn’t be eat­ing them, you’re a foot­baller,’” he said, ahead of to­mor­row’s match at the Wham Sta­dium where he will be try­ing to get the bet­ter of City’s cen­tre-backs Jor­dan Wil­lis and Rod Mc­Don­ald.

“You go down the pub and have a pint and it’s the same. You get it all the time, but we’re just nor­mal lads who want to live a nor­mal life some­times.”

Kee has tried to kick the crisps and beer into touch, but re­vealed it’s never worked out for him, and while Cole­man might not en­cour­age him to go down the pub, he is one of the few man­agers who has un­der­stood how to get the best of the striker.

“I’ve tried knock­ing it on the head, I did at Scun­thorpe and I got paid off, I did it at Bur­ton for a bit and I got in­jured,” said the stocky front man.

“I’ve tried it a lot, but the gaffer here tells me not to lose too much weight, he says if you do lose too much weight you’re not go­ing to be the player you are.

“When I have lost weight he’s telling me to put it back on but that’s what he wants from me as a player.

“It’s not so much him say­ing ‘eat crisps and drink beer.’ He wants you to live as pro­fes­sion­ally as you can, but he’s a man­ager who un­der­stands me and he’s not go­ing to change me from who I am, and that’s what I re­spect about him.”

Kee came through the ranks at Le­ices­ter City and his first spell with Stan­ley, on loan at the age of 18, was the mo­ment he re­alised that a Premier League fu­ture for him wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen.

With the de­mands re­quired of play­ers at the top of the game now, he doubts he could make those sac­ri­fices.

“I take my hat off to them be­cause I couldn’t do what some of the Burn­ley lads do,” said the player who scored 15 goals for Stan­ley last sea­son and 17 the year be­fore.

“I couldn’t live like that, I couldn’t not go down the pub with my mates.

“But that’s how they live, they go to the cin­ema and have a bot­tle of water. I go and get an ice blast and pop­corn.”

Kee’s form in Septem­ber saw him nom­i­nated for the League Two player of the month award and while he loves play­ing he ad­mits he takes lit­tle in­ter­est in the game when away from his team-mates and re­lax­ing at home.

“I’m not one to watch foot­ball, I don’t re­ally en­joy it and it’s strange, but I love be­ing around it and play­ing it,” he said. “I don’t know why I don’t re­ally en­joy it. The last four or five weeks I’ve tried watch­ing it more, but it just winds me up.”

I’ve tried knock­ing it on the head, I did at Scun­thorpe and I got paid off, I did it at Bur­ton for a bit and I got in­jured.

on goal dif­fer­ence. Af­ter an SFA board meet­ing at Ham­p­den Park, the gov­ern­ing body said it was “agreed that a new na­tional coach should be re­cruited to pro­vide fresh im­pe­tus” and the an­nounce­ment sug­gested the de­ci­sion was mu­tual.

In the state­ment, Stra­chan said: “I said on my first day as Scot­land man­ager that it was the proud­est mo­ment of my ca­reer and that I wanted to put a smile back on the na­tion’s face again.

“I share the pro­found dis­ap­point­ment at miss­ing out on the play-offs, es­pe­cially hav­ing worked so hard to fight our way back into con­tention.

“The play­ers should re­ceive im­mense credit for that re­silience in com­ing back from a dif­fi­cult start and I would like to thank each and ev­ery player who has come in to rep­re­sent their coun­try.

“To­gether we have shared some re­ally mag­i­cal mo­ments and those mem­o­ries will live with me for­ever.”

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