Opposition in Focus: Coventry City

Exeter host third placed side Coventry City on Saturday and will be expecting a tough test with the Sky Blues coming off the back of an FA Cup giant killing against Stoke City.

Man behind the Mask, Dan Gottschalk takes a detailed look at the Grecians opponents.
Coventry's History:

Originally founded as Singers F.C., Coventry City’s roots can be traced back as far as 1983. The club was initially formed by a group of workmen from cycling manufacturer Singer and would not change their name to Coventry City until 1898.

A year later, Coventry started playing their home games at Highfield Road, a ground they would remain at for 106 years until eventually moving to the Ricoh Arena in 2005, where they currently play.

In 1919, Coventry were voted into the Football League, a status they have proudly maintained ever since despite coming close to dropping out of the Football League in the late 1920’s.

In the 1970/71 season, Coventry competed in the European Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the then equivalent of the Europa League, and hosted Bayern Munich in the second round of the competition. Despite beating the Bavarian giants 2-1 in the second leg of the tie, Coventry lost 8-2 on aggregate and bowed out of the competition.

The proudest moment in the club’s history however came much later in the 20th century when the Sky Blues beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Wembley to win the FA Cup in 1987. Interestingly, Coventry are one of only five clubs to have ever won the FA Cup and the FA Youth Cup in the same year.

In 1992, Coventry City were inaugural members of the newly formed Premier League, where they would stay until the West Midlands side were eventually relegated in 2001, ending a 34 year stay in the top flight.

Unfortunately for Sky Blues fans, the club would not return to the top flight and in 2012 would again be relegated, this time to League One, suffering another relegation again in 2017 to League Two.
Season in focus:

This season marks Coventry’s first in League Two since relegation last term, the Sky Blues not having been in the fourth tier of English football since 1959.

Despite being relegated last season, a decent run of form in the Checkatrade Trophy resulted in the Sky Blues reaching the final of the competition at Wembley and eventually beat Oxford United 2-1 to win their first major trophy in 30 years.

Many Coventry fans were hoping that the club could make a swift return to League One and bookmakers installed the West Midlands club as early favourites for promotion.

The campaign started brightly for the Sky Blues, comfortably dispatching Notts County at home on the opening day courtesy of a Jodi Jones hat trick.

Currently, Coventry sit in third place in the league, occupying the final automatic promotion spot having won four of their last five games.
Ones to watch

Despite danger man Jodi Jones being ruled out for the rest of the season through injury, Coventry boast plenty of talent in their ranks. We take a look at a couple of the ones to watch here.

Marc McNulty
Making his professional debut for Livingston, 25 year old striker McNulty is no stranger to finding the back of the net. In his time with Livingston, the forward scored 37 goals in 105 appearances and has recreated this form at both Sheffield United and Portsmouth.

McNulty signed for Coventry in the summer of 2017 and has so far scored 10 goals in League Two.
Michael Doyle
Captain Michael Doyle is currently enjoying his second spell at Coventry having played for the club 264 times from 2003 to 2011.

The 36 year old midfielder boasts plenty of footballing nous and has experience of guiding teams to the top of League Two, winning the title with Portsmouth year before re-joining Coventry in the summer.
Last time out
Exeter have already played Coventry once this season, at the Ricoh, the West Midlands side handing the Grecians their first loss of the campaign back in late September.

The 2-0 result was the first time the two clubs had faced each other since the two sides faced off in 2014 in the Johnstones Paint Trophy also at the Ricoh.

You would have to look back some distance in the history books however before you found the last time the two sides met at St James Park, that game coming in January 1959, some 59 years ago. Grecians fans will be hoping that history repeats itself however, with Exeter coming out as 2-1 victors that day in the Division Four match up.