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2 Coventry City team dilemmas facing Mark Robins ahead of Barnsley clash

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Coventry City will be desperate to bounce back in their latest Championship clash as they return to the CBS Arena to face relegation battlers Barnsley.

A 2-0 defeat to Cardiff City in midweek was particularly disappointing for Mark Robins’ men following a gutsy 3-2 win against Reading last Saturday, with Joel Bagan and Mark Harris striking in the second half to leave them without anything to take back to the Midlands.

They will be full of hope this afternoon though with Poya Asbaghi’s men the opponents, with today’s visitors struggling for the majority of the campaign so far.

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Maxime Biamou

However, their 1-0 victory against promotion contenders Queens Park Rangers in their last match will give them a real boost going into this tie with Domingos Quina already making a real difference for the South Yorkshire outfit.

Manager Robins will not only be focused on his side’s opponents – but also his own squad with a couple of dilemmas to weigh up going into this weekend’s tie.

We take a look at just two he is currently facing ahead of the teamsheet being released at 2pm.

The left-wing back selection

Soccer Football – Championship – Blackpool v Coventry City – Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, Britain – August 17, 2021 Blackpool’s Josh Bowler in action with Coventry City’s Ian Maatsen Action Images/Jason Cairnduff EDITORIAL USE ONLY

This is going to be a tricky one for Robins because he has two left-sided players in Jake Bidwell and Ian Maatsen who will both be expecting to be regular starters in the Championship – and the latter’s ability to play higher up potentially solves this issue.

However, if the Sky Blues opt against starting the Dutchman in a more advanced position, it gives their boss a dilemma as to who to pick between the two in their 3-4-2-1 system.

Maatsen offers more going forward and can be a real threat down the wing – but his defensive vulnerabilities were exposed last weekend against Reading when Yakou Meite powered past him with ease – and this is something the Tykes could potentially exploit.

Bidwell has more Championship experience – but he isn’t exactly the most attacking wide man and this is perhaps the reason why Swansea City were willing to let the 28-year-old go – with the ex-Brentford man perhaps more suited to playing as a more defensive full-back.

He probably needs more time to work on his craft on the training ground with the defender still settling into life at the Sky Blues – but unless he can be more of a threat going forward in the short term – it may end up stifling the whole team’s creativity to an extent.

A formation switch?

Soccer Football – FA Cup – Fourth Round – Southampton v Coventry City – St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton, Britain – February 5, 2022 Coventry City’s Martyn Waghorn celebrates scoring their second goal before it is disallowed REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Viktor Gyokeres looked very isolated on his own at Cardiff and this is why they should be considering a formation switch going into their latest second-tier tie.

They had Martyn Waghorn available on the bench for that midweek fixture in the Welsh capital and that game time may enable him to play more this afternoon, with Fabio Tavares another option to be utilised.

Unfortunately, Matt Godden still looks set to be out for several weeks despite returning to training, something that may tempt Robins to stick with one up top – but will that limit their attacking threat?

They did score thrice at the Select Car Leasing Stadium last Saturday with Gyokeres as the sole striker – but the Swedish forward could benefit from more support alongside him – and Callum O’Hare has already shown he can play as a lone advanced midfielder.

And if Maatsen starts at left wing-back ahead of Bidwell, then they will be left without that attacking midfield option.

Should they stick with their current formation to retain stability or switch to a 3-4-1-2 in the hope of changing their fortunes? That’s something that needs to be weighed up.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: 2 Coventry City team dilemmas facing Mark Robins ahead of Barnsley clash

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