To kick off the new season, and a brand-new website, why not start a brand-new feature, so we sent our very own Trash Talk Tom on a mission to seek out opposition fans and put them under the spotlight. Look out for Tom every game as he sets out to dispel the myth no one like us…. all together now!!
The first ones under the heat lamp are Cov City fans Dom Jerams and Simon from the Empty Seats, we don’t think he wants anyone to know he is talking to us, so no surname, let’s hope Doncaster fans aren’t so embarrassed next weekend.
Can we start off with an interesting fact about Coventry City?
Simon – Before Mark Robins’ return, we had not finished in the top six of any division since 1970! Two promotions in three years has made that miserable stat a distant memory.
Dom – Winning the League One title last season was the first time the club had done so since 1967 – the club had only finished higher than 6th-place once in that period.
Who is your key player for the season?
Simon – I will pick out new signing Gustavo Hamer. As player of the season last year Liam Walsh returns to parent club Bristol City, we look to have picked up a gem from the Eredivisie. A tough tackling midfielder with an eye for a pass! Could be excellent.
Dom – It looks like being the Dutch-Brazilian central midfielder Gustavo Hamer, who is our most expensive signing in nearly a decade. He has some big shoes to fill in replacing Liam Walsh, who was our best player last season by some distance, but Hamer has a good pedigree himself, having been one of the most creative midfielders in the Dutch top-flight last season. Hamer looks to have a really good eye for a pass and seems to love getting stuck into the tackle. He could be the key to helping the team assert itself in the Championship.
Who could be the surprise star in your squad?
Simon – Aside from Hamer, new Brighton loanee Leo Ostigaard looks like a class act as a ball-playing CB, perfect for our system. He comes highly rated from Brighton and I would expect him to establish himself in the first team across the season.
Dom – Having spent most of the past two seasons out with injury, Jodi Jones is getting close to full fitness. He had torn League Two to shreds before the injury issues cropped up and while he might not have the same level of pace as before, he still appears to have the skill and eye for the spectacular as he did before. His first step is getting his fitness back but he’s the kind of game-changing, match-winning attacking player who could put a few more points on the board this season that could be the difference between relegation and survival.
How are Coventry likely to play?
Simon – Coventry should line up in our now familiar 3-4-2-1 system that won us the League One title last season. The creativity from the two number tens – mainly Callum O Hare, should cause teams problems this season. We will look to dominate possession against weaker sides before making incisive forward passes to cut through your defence. Matty Godden will be likely to start up front, and having just signed Tyler Walker from Forest, he will be desperate to get off to a scoring start and keep his place in the starting eleven.
Dom – While we are a team that likes to keep the ball, we are not quite a free-flowing, enterprising, attacking team. Our defensive record last season shows that we use possession as a means to help our backline, knowing that if we eventually find a goal at the other end, we are likely to win. It seems we have added pressing to our game over pre-season, which could help add to our goals tally this year.
What are your goals for the campaign?
Simon – Simply staying in the Championship will be a successful season. Some fans are setting their sights towards mid-table as the new signings come in, but safety is the primary target. I think most fans would snap your hand off for 21st if you offered it to us now.
Dom – The goal is to stay up in the Championship. As MK Dons fans will know, the step up to the Championship from League One is considerable and while pre-season is a time for optimism, it’s hard not to look at the track record of the teams recently promoted from League One and fear that we could struggle. The signing of Tyler Walker from Nottingham Forest adds firepower to a squad that looks to be short on goals, which has boosted the mood around the club. Still, most Coventry City fans would bite your hand off for a guaranteed 21st-place finish this season.
What do you see as MK Dons strengths?
Simon – I think Rhys Healey’s departure has massively weakened MK in the attacking third, but Kieran Agard can be dangerous on his day. Defensively things look reasonable for a League One side. Richard Keogh, one of our former players, is a great pick up while Bailly Cargill and Regan Poole also provide decent options at the back. Not the best League One squad on paper and Russell Martin is still inexperienced as a manager.
Dom – What was most impressive about MK Dons when we played back in January was the levels of energy the team put into pressing us. While it didn’t lead to a great deal of chances, it really disrupted our rhythm after scoring that early goal through Sam McCallum and meant that we couldn’t take a breather to collect ourselves. If Russell Martin can keep those energy levels up while getting a few more goals out of Carlton Morris, Joe Mason and Sam Nombe, MK Dons should be in touch with the top six.
What are your predictions for this fixture?
Simon – Hard game to call given the circumstances and the ‘pre-season feel’ to this fixture! If Mark Robins uses this game to finalise his starting XI, we should win fairly comfortably. If he uses it to give minutes to some of that building fitness, you will have a chance. I will go for a 2-0 win to Cov.
Dom – As it’s the first game of the season, it is hard to gauge where either team is at – despite having played a friendly against each other so recently. My inkling is that Coventry City have the advantage here due to having more confidence in our style of play and options off the bench who can change the game, I would have Coventry City down as winning this 2-1.