Coventry City have a selection headache for the visit of Gillingham this weekend, despite their fine early season form.
They drew with Portsmouth in midweek, stretching their unbeaten run to four league matches. Having trialled 3-1 they battled back to earn an unlikely point.
Their evening was tarnished by the dismissal of two players; Fankaty Dabo and Gervane Kastaneer. The latter came on as a sub and probably wouldn’t have been in line for a start, but Dabo has been playing at right-back since his summer move.
Suspensions are not an easy thing to cover at the best of times, but this one, in particular, gives the manager a headache. Dujon Sterling played there last season, but his loan finished and Jack Grimmer has left the club.
That increases the likelihood of a player having to play out of position, which we examine in more detail below.
Most of the line up will be settled and consistent; Robins has a small squad at present and needs recruits before the deadline next week. It’s likely he’ll start with Matt Godden up front, with Jordy Hiwula and summer signing Wesley Jobello either side of him. Having scored six goals already this season, there is little need to change the 4-3-3 formation, or the attacking players.
Jordan Shipley and Zain Westbrooke will likely start either side of holding midfielder Luke Kelly. In the 4-3-3 this trio needs to work incredibly hard to link the forward players and the back four, but also add some width where possible. If they’re covering a full back out of position, their role will be even more important.
That means a big afternoon for Westbrooke, scorer of the winner on the opening day of the season against Southend. He plays on the right of the midfield trio and will have to consider the defender tasked with replacing Dabo.
We think Robins might have to go with Junior Brown on the right-hand side. Brandon Mason will keep his spot on the left, with Michael Rose and Kyle McFadzean a settled pairing in the middle. Rose bagged the leveller in midweek and McFadzean has settled quickly after his move from Burton Albion.
30-year-old Brown is a left-back, left-footed too, but he’s likely to replace Dabo. 21-year-old Josh Pask is another possibility; he’s a centre back by trade but is right-footed and might add a little more balance to the back four.