‘Doyle will be back... but I need to look to the fu­ture’ ROBINS EX­pLAINS WHY CITY TAL­IS­MAN WAS LEFT OUT

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

MARK Robins has ex­plained his de­ci­sion to drop Coven­try City cap­tain Michael Doyle – a call that left the star “ma­jorly dis­ap­pointed”, his boss ad­mit­ted.

The Sky Blues boss rested the vet­eran mid­fielder at Wal­sall on Satur­day for the first time in a league game since bring­ing him back to the club for a sec­ond spell in the sum­mer of 2017.

Doyle was a key fig­ure in the club re­turn­ing to League One at the first at­tempt and se­cur­ing the first pro­mo­tion since 1967 when he skip­pered the side to suc­cess via the play-offs last sea­son.

He was also part of the re­cent run of six un­beaten matches, dur­ing which City won five con­sec­u­tive games in the di­vi­sion and he popped up with an 87th-minute equaliser to se­cure a point against Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley in the sixth.

But after a se­quence of five games with­out a win, in­clud­ing an FA Cup first round exit at Wal­sall and League One losses at Bur­ton and Fleet­wood, Robins de­cided to shake things up with a number of changes, and Doyle was one of them.

The man­ager ad­mits it was a tough call to make but re­vealed that while the mid­fielder is still very much part of his plans, he has to start look­ing to the fu­ture.

“He’s been bril­liant,” said Robins, “But don’t for­get he’s 37 and I have got to look at what are we do­ing. What are we do­ing now?

“I am not writ­ing him off at all be­cause he’s been fan­tas­tic for us but maybe it’s time to look and see where we play him.”

Doyle has an in­cred­i­ble record of ap­pear­ances, hav­ing barely missed a league game over the last seven-and-a-half sea­sons.

He’s been vir­tu­ally ever present, con­sis­tently play­ing 50 or more games a cam­paign at his last three clubs from four years at Sh­effield United, two at Portsmouth be­fore his re­turn to the Ri­coh Arena where he’d made 73 starts up un­til the week­end.

“I have spo­ken to him about it and when you get to the later stages of your ca­reer you are al­ways look­ing over your shoul­der and think­ing, ‘how long can I go on?’

“You just have to en­joy it un­til you can’t do it. And hope­fully that’s what he’ll con­tinue to do. That’s what he has done ever since I brought him back here.

“He’s been mag­nif­i­cent and it will take a bit of time to get his head around in terms of not play­ing at the week­end be­cause he was ma­jorly dis­ap­pointed. Ma­jorly dis­ap­pointed!

“But he was run­ning around after the match and work­ing his legs and he will con­tinue to do that and con­tinue to be an as­set for us both on and off the pitch.”

Asked if he was still an in­flu­ence in the dress­ing room at the Banks’s Sta­dium de­spite be­ing an un­used sub­sti­tute, Robins said: “He was a bit qui­eter than nor­mal in the dress­ing room but still sup­port­ive. It was a slightly dif­fer­ent match­day ex­pe­ri­ence for him but one that, mov­ing for­ward, we have to look at it game by game and see where we go.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.