Thomas puts Cov in mood for Wembley
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