After impressing in their first season back in the Championship last term, Coventry City will be eager to improve on this progress and fully establish themselves as a second-tier side again after spending time in the lower leagues in recent years.
Under manager Mark Robins who has guided the West Midlands outfit to two promotions in his four-and-a-half years as manager after succeeding Tony Mowbray in March 2017, they will never have a better chance of doing that.
It’s also fair to say they’ve had a reasonably successful summer, bringing in the likes of Ian Maatsen, Martyn Waghorn and Ben Sheaf despite seeing Sam McCallum and Leo Ostigard return to their respective parent clubs on the expiration of their loan deals.
Quiz: Have Coventry City won or lost more against each of these 25 English teams?
This seems to have paid dividends, with the West Midlands side winning six points from a possible nine in their opening three league games of the season, having also been boosted by their return to the Ricoh Arena.
In these three games alone, we have already learnt a considerable amount about Mark Robins’ side and here are just three key points to come from these matches.
They have the mental strength to succeed
Even though the Sky Blues have enjoyed a good start to the season, they have endured setbacks already this season.
The shock loss to Northampton Town in the Carabao Cup and a late penalty miss against Barnsley were considerable blows to Mark Robins’ side – but they responded well to both in their 1-0 victory against Blackpool on Tuesday night.
Viktor Gyokeres should receive a special mention for his contribution at Bloomfield Road, because he was the man who grabbed the winner in Lancashire after missing the last-minute spot-kick against Barnsley.
His goal in midweek may have been a stroke of luck – but he had to get himself in the right position to convert the chance and for that alone – he must be commended. Without him, they wouldn’t have had three points to celebrate.
And let’s not forget the Covid-19 disruption they faced even before the season kicked off, including cancelled friendlies. They could have easily made a slow start to the season because of that – but have come out the traps quickly and will be desperate to continue in the same vein against Reading at the weekend.
They may have a talisman in their ranks
Viktor Gyokeres already has two goals to his name in three league games and would have made it three if it wasn’t for a brilliant penalty save by Brad Collins in the Barnsley goal last weekend.
Although manager Robins has taken him off penalty duty after his miss, there will still be plenty of chances for him to get himself amongst the goals throughout the season and is well on his way to becoming the Sky Blues’ leading talisman.
After arriving on a free transfer from Derby County this summer, Martyn Waghorn looked to be the favourite to become the club’s goalscorer during the 2021/22 campaign, but we shouldn’t write off Swedish forward Gyokeres who has already spent a year in the West Midlands and is firmly settled into life at the Championship side.
Now he’s linked up with Coventry on a permanent deal from Brighton & Hove Albion, he will be desperate to repay the faith Sky Blues officials have placed in him in securing this transfer.
He is already repaying it this early in the season – and found himself in the perfect position for both of his goals in the last three Championship matches. Expect that to be a running theme throughout the campaign.
Their back five is likely to pay dividends
After securing an impressive 16th-place finish above the likes of Nottingham Forest, Birmingham City and Huddersfield Town last season, they will be hoping to survive at the very least and realistically, they could even build on their first season back in the second tier.
Although their attacking potency will be important to their success, Robins’ side’s defensive solidity will be just as vital, especially if they continue to operate with five at the back as they have done in their recent history.
With a full season of Championship football under their belt, the likes of Dominic Hyam and Michael Rose will only continue to improve and so will their defence as a whole after recruiting Ian Maatsen, Jake Clarke-Salter (both loans) and goalkeeper Simon Moore in the summer window.
The Sky Blues have conceded just two goals in three league games so far this season, an impressive record that they will want to maintain, even against some of the more capable teams in the division.