Look, Lemme tell you this
I know you know someone who’s got a negative vibe (Euhh)
And if you only help it will only keep it alive (Sh-yeah)
They really don’t have nowhere to go
Ask ’em where they’re going
They don’t know
McFadden and Whitehead – Ain’t No Stopping Us Now
11 changes to the team that played Hull last week.
Rowland Winter has such faith in the ability in his players that he can almost treat a fixture against a team like Blaydon as something akin to playing club from a lower division in football’s League Cup.
He must feel confident that he can afford to rest a number of his front line players and bring in some of the squad who haven’t been playing regularly and be sure that they are going to perform well enough to overcome one of the sides at the lower end of the league.
And they will.
You could pick two very decent sides from Coventry’s current squad and both would perform will in National 1.
It’s not arrogance, nor is it a lack of respect for the opposition…
…but it is a decision borne of a genuine belief in your players.
I do like that…having belief in yourself, your coaches and your team can be the difference sometimes and if the players know you have that much faith in them, then they’ll relax more on the pitch and worry less when mistakes are made.
I’m probably in the minority here, but it’s the kind of confidence that you want to see in your DoR. Too often we’ve seen a large Coventry squad in the past reduced to 2/3rd of it’s original size following pre-season and the first few leagues games, with a number of players being sent to junior clubs never to return, or simply moved on. Last season alone, we saw little of Hicks, Baker, Sigley, Tincknell, Harrison Everton, Parkins, Worth, Roberts, Farnworth, Wolfenden (although he came to us injured) and Jake Farnworth all making a few appearances only then disappear off the radar. Even Devlin Hope only made 7 starts.
Whilst some of these were DRs, we signed a lot of players whom we saw very little of for much of the season, a season which was disappointing by anyone’s standards and one in which perhaps we might have expected to see some of those players listed above rather more than we actually did.
And there are some good players in that list.
And of the five or six DRs we took on last season, only George Tresidder played regularly, even when Wayne Evans seemed to have recovered from injury. Rory Hutchinson only featured in 8 of the 22 games he was here for (one or two of those might have clashed with LV games), yet he as already made 5 first team appearances with Northampton and George Worth has featured in all Leicester’s Anglo Welsh games, but only made 5 appearances for Cov. Had they been used differently, supported instead by the likes of James Pritchard, Nick Walshe and Brendan Burke would we have got more from them and they from us…?
Hypothetical, I know, but I rather think it would have been a yes to both…?
This season, we take on four and all four play; it’s as if the coaches know exactly who they want and there’s no question of taking who is offered and seeing who fits once they’re here.
Even with a smaller squad such as the one we have this season, there are always going to be those players who miss out and whose confidence take a knock as a result. What I’d hope to see from them, though, is some sort of reaction to that, a desire to train harder, to put yourself about that much more to show just what it means to you to get back into the side.
Rowland Winter knows he has brought together a squad comprised of 30+ players who are all capable of doing what is asked of them and against Blaydon he’s shown he is prepared to give a number of those players who haven’t had many opportunities so far this season the chance to show that his faith in them is justified.
If it doesn’t work out and Cov come a cropper, RW probably won’t get the easiest of rides, but I get the feeling that the coaches don’t see it as a risk as all…and nor should they given what we know of the players already. The only unknown is how they will gel as a team; individually it shouldn’t be an issue.
With training going well and four consecutive wins under their belts, Cov have also decided to rest several key players in readiness for some potentially difficult games in the next three or four weeks. It’s a long season and these players coming into the side today are going to be needed at various times over the remaining 21 games, so best they have some valuable game time sooner rather than later…
And Blaydon is probably an ideal opportunity, the first in a while to enable the coaches to swap things a little in order for that to happen. White, Snyman and Boulton have all been rested but with Adamson, Poole and Litchfield to come in, it’s not going to upset the balance of the team too much.
If you can’t make such changes against the bottom two or three sides in the league, then you can’t do it at all. And at home, where we have been so difficult to beat this year, there’s no better place to do it either.
So I don’t see these changes, all 11 of them, as a risk which is where perhaps I might be taking a different view to some other supporters. These players have all played this season already, they are all experienced , some far more so than the players they are replacing, and they will not let their team mates, the coaches or the supporters down.
And that’s what makes watching Cov so much more interesting this season, for me at least. RW has regularly looked to rotate players and positions – whether he’s experimenting still to get the right combinations or whether he’s looking at the opposition, the game plan that he wants Cov to stick to and all the other contributory factors that go into making such decisions, I’m not sure. But given his eye for detail, I very much suspect that it’s the latter.
I’m just looking forward to seeing how all the various partnerships work out…Knox/Rundle, Hodgson/Wheatcroft, Jubb/Dyer/Grace, Poole/Conquest. They’ll be lots of different things to look out for as well as seeing how they each complement to the whole team performance.
But we won’t let nothing hold us back
We gonna get ourselves together, come on
We gonna polish up our act, yeah
Hopefully, there will be a commitment to spread the ball wide when the chances arise, although, and here’s my only slight worry, I do think without Hircock and James there’s a little pace missing – maybe that’s where Dan R can come into his own.
At Thursday’s training session, RW made it clear that Blaydon had a big pack and in some respects are similar, if not quite so effective, as next week’s opposition, Ampthill. He clearly felt it was going to be a test and commented on the fact that there was no ‘real turning the corner’ following a decent run of results. A couple of losses and it all would look very different. No one in the Cov camp seems to be taking anything for granted.
Might even wear my new Cov shirt…
…oh no, I was forgetting…
I’m on @Cowshedtim.
If you aren’t familiar with Twitter or don’t have an account, then on the homepage of this blog (www.coventryrfc.me), all the tweets will appear in real time on the far right of the page, towards the top end.
Up the Cov!
Roller discos, glitter balls, flares, awful dance routines and McFadden and Whitehead
Another candidate for a Cov anthem…
Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now…
There’ve been so many things that have held us down
But now it looks like things are finally comin’ around, yeah
I know we’ve got a long long way to go, yeah
And where we’ll end up
I don’t know
But we won’t let nothing hold us back
We gonna get ourselves together
We gonna polish up our act, yeah
And if you’ve ever been held down before
I know that you refuse to be held down any more, yeah yeah
Don’t you let nothing, nothing
Nothing stand in your way