Coventry City will be desperate to bounce back this midweek as they face play-off contenders Stoke City at the Coventry Building Society Arena tomorrow evening.
The Sky Blues looked to be closing in on what would have been an impressive point against promotion chasers Queens Park Rangers on Saturday afternoon, but a late Albert Adomah goal left them pointless as they were unable to build on their 4-1 away victory at Peterborough United.
However, the fact their contest with Mark Warburton’s men was closely fought will give them real hope going into this tie, although they face another tricky test as the Potters make the short trip this midweek.
Quiz: Can you name which club Coventry City signed these 28 defenders from?
Michael O’Neill’s men may have suffered a 3-2 defeat against Fulham at the weekend – but the fact they only conceded three can be commended considering the Cottagers’ recent form and with the likes of new signings Lewis Baker, Phil Jagielka and Taylor Harwood-Bellis at their disposal – they will be a tough nut to crack.
Stoke have been a completely changed side since the summer, conducting some shrewd business and vastly improving their results as they have managed to transform themselves from a midtable outfit to genuine promotion challengers.
Mark Robins’ side have also been on the rise in recent years – and will fancy their chances of winning a point or three from this match following their promising early-season form.
What lineup will the 52-year-old go with tomorrow night though? We have provided our prediction of the starting 11 below.
After returning as the first-choice shot-stopper last weekend, Simon Moore retains his place and will be looking to build on a bright start to the 2021/22 campaign, establishing himself as a real asset in the second tier this term despite being left out in the cold at Bramall Lane before his move to Robins’ men last summer.
The trio in central defence also remains the same, with Michael Rose challenging all three for a starting spot in the backline. Perhaps Rose can count himself unlucky not to be in the first 11 – but that just goes to show the depth the Midlands outfit has.
It may also be harsh to leave Jordan Shipley out of the starting lineup following his goal against the R’s – but Jake Bidwell has to come in at some point with the amount of second-tier experience he has under his belt and he may get his first start after coming off the bench for his debut in the last match.
Todd Kane continues on the right as one of the first names on the teamsheet, another man who has plenty of Championship appearances under his belt.
Liam Kelly will continue pursuing Ben Sheaf for his place in midfield alongside Gustavo Hamer, but it’s the former Arsenal man and summer signing that gets the nod once again having been a regular since the end of November.
A change in formation means Callum O’Hare is the lone man in the advanced midfield role, although he should take to that like a duck to water considering he’s taken on that task before without the assistance of Jamie Allen.
It may be too much of a risk to play Martyn Waghorn at this stage considering he was only on the pitch for a few minutes against QPR – but Viktor Gyokeres would thrive alongside him and this could be the catalyst for an upturn in the Swedish international’s form.
The Sky Blues thrived playing two up top earlier in the season and with Matt Godden out for a while, the combination of Waghorn and Gyokeres could be crucial in determining where they finish at the end of the campaign.