Thomas puts Cov in mood for Wem­b­ley

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By John Wragg

COVEN­TRY’S warm-up for their big­gest day in 30 years couldn’t have gone much bet­ter.

The Sky Blues are at Wem­b­ley next Sun­day in the Check­a­trade Tro­phy fi­nal against Ox­ford.

It’s a break from the un­re­lent­ing bad news that is likely to see them in League Two very soon.

It is some­thing you wouldn’t have thought pos­si­ble in your worst Sky Blue night­mare on that sunny af­ter­noon in May 1987 when Coven­try beat Spurs to win the FA Cup.

Coven­try was brought to a stand­still on the Sun­day the club brought the Cup back. Next Sun­day the city will be nearly empty as around 43,000 fans travel down to Wem­b­ley.

It shows what could be hap­pen­ing at the Ri­coh Arena, two thirds empty for this game, if the lo­cal coun­cil and the club’s own­ers were of one mind, not fight­ing a war that is wreck­ing the club.

Play­ing in a sta­dium owned by Wasps rugby club, where foot­ball is a ten­ant where once it was king, Coven­try are bot­tom of League One, 11 points from safety.

Mir­a­cles are needed. If there is hope for the fu­ture it is in what Bris­tol Rovers have achieved. As a blue­print it’s an inspiration for Cov. Rovers were rel­e­gated from the Foot­ball League two sea­sons ago but suc­ces­sive pro­mo­tions have put them in con­tention for a League One play-off place.

Rovers’ fans have cer­tainly got faith be­cause 4,000 of them were in the Ri­coh, help­ing give Coven­try their big­gest crowd of a des­per­ately poor sea­son.

But Rovers man­ager Dar­rell Clarke was down­beat af­ter Ge­orge Thomas’ 80th-minute win­ner for the hosts.

“It’s a very dis­ap­pointed chang­ing rooms and we’ve got a lot of dis­ap­pointed fans,” he said.

“There is one rea­son why we are not in the top six and that’s our away form. But we won’t be chuck­ing in the towel.

“We were a long shot be­fore this game and we are an even longer shot now.” The Sky Blues are on their fourth man­ager in seven months in Mark Robins who, de­spite in­her­it­ing a hope­less task, is breath­ing life into the club

“Off the back of this win we can now go and en­joy next week,” he said.

“Bris­tol Rovers’ sup­port was very good but they were out­sung at the end which was bril­liant to hear.”

Sky Blues goal­keeper Lee Burge im­pressed but it was Thomas who fired home to give them a sec­ond suc­ces­sive vic­tory, some­thing to cher­ish in aus­tere times.

STAR MAN LEE BURGE Coven­try

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