Saturday, February 25, 2012



Barnsley did us a favour last weekend eventually seeing off ten man, injury hit Portsmouth, but they made quite hard work of it and also had a tough game in midweek, losing 3-1 at home to Birmingham City, the Championship's form team. That result effectively ended their season, they are booked for a midtable finish almost regardless of what happens between now and the end of this campaign and boss Keith Hill will soon start to look building for next season, team selection today might alreday indicate that if he sticks with 17 yo Paul Digby. The match against City was the tenth time in 15 starts that they have conceded two or more and just one cleansheet in that sequence appear to tell you everything about where their problems lie, however, they are losing the battle further up the pitch, bad luck with season ending injuries to key players have left them overrun in midfield at times in quite a lot of recent games and that is putting too much pressure on the backline.

City have had a terrible time of things this season, both results and injury wise, but the treatment room has started to clear and coach Andy Thorn has Cody MacDonald and Sammy Clingan back in training this week and with Oliver Norwood ( Man U) and Alex Nimely ( Man C) on loan form the top two clubs in the EPL and already making good contributions, Thorn has said this is the strongest his squad has looked all season. We have yet to see too much of an improvement on the road, but they have won four of their last five starts here at the Ricoh Arena , beating Leeds United, Brighton and Middlesbrough, all of whom are top ten sides and also Bristol City, they lost to Southampton in that sequence, but did lead the Saints for an hour. Portsmouth's ten point deduction has given all the other clubs battling relegation a boost and three points tonight, might well take City out of the drop zone, which is huge motivation, especially ahead of a tough run of fixtures in March.

Hosts have a terrific record in this fixture, being 6-1-0 in home starts and they have scored three or more goals in five of the last six h2h meetings at the Ricoh. 1.25 units Coventry City -0.25 ball 1.95 + asian line.

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