The Dugout #15
Date: 30 December 2017 at 09:50 by Liam Cook
After a week off, The Dugout returns, with CUTV's Liam Cook asking the questions and Coventry United First Team Coach Ollinton Matthews Paris providing the answers. Not the merriest of Christmas’ for Coventry United. We get you the answers you want ahead of the big derby at Sphinx.
Liam - The festive period could have been oh so different, from winning positing in both games United came out with just 1 point from a possible 6. How different could United’s season be right now if leads weren’t given away so cheaply?
Ollinton - The extra points dropped would see us right in the mix, considering the points dropped by other sides, but there’s a long way to go and lots of points to be played for. There’s more twists and turns ahead.
Liam - The standout issue from the Coleshill game must be the inability to put a 10 man away side (without an established goalkeeper) under enough pressure. Can this be explained?
Ollinton - It is difficult to explain, to be honest. The lads grafted for the result but couldn’t finish the opportunities we created for ourselves. It was a frustrating game and a disappointing result, but we have to take the positives and move on.
Liam - And of course an injury time equaliser suffered at the hands of Heanor on Boxing Day. Was there an ounce of complacency creeping in on United’s part? Did the lads think the game was won?
Ollinton - The game is never won until the final whistle and recent games have taught us that late goals can happen, however unlikely. We’ve been on both sides of that, so the message is always to focus on getting the job done.
Liam - At this stage of the season, with United currently 9th in the league and a sizeable 14 points behind leaders Coleshill, is the dream of title glory starting to slip away?
Ollinton - It’s definitely not going to be easy, but it’s not insurmountable. There’ll be points dropped above us, so it’s important we focus on ourselves and find consistency. Giving up is not in our nature, individually or collectively, so we’ll stay committed.
Liam - Up next it’s a trip to Sphinx Drive to face in-form local rivals Coventry Sphinx. What is the attitude towards this game? Is there an added incentive to pick up 3 points at our old home?
Ollinton - The players and staff are all looking forward to the game, just like the fans. Derby games always have an added spice and the points will feel extra special to the winner. Form can sometimes go out the window in these kind of games, with almost a cup atmosphere at times. Sphinx are on a good run and we expect a good test, but we’re fully focused on ourselves. We’ll be prepared and ready to play.
Liam - A number of new signings have been made since our last chat. Let’s start with the defensive additions of Jamal Clarke, Niall Rowe and Dan Brennan. There have been numerous defensive errors this season, so how important was it to solidify the backline and what can each new signing bring to the Red and Greens defence?
Ollinton - The gaffer has brought in players that can improve the squad and the quality has been obvious in training. Not only in defence, it improves all other areas with competition for places and better tactical options. Each defender has slightly different attributes but all 3 of them are intelligent footballers, with and without the ball. 3 excellent additions to the defensive unit.
Liam - A promising young star from Rugby Borough has also been signed with striking hotshot Adam Shaw being drafted in. With a scoring average of over 2.5 goals per game at his previous club, what sort of impact can he have at this level?
Ollinton - Adam is an excellent young player and we’re happy to have him here. As soon as he settles in and finds his feet, we’re sure he’ll do well. He has excellent ability and all the attributes to be successful.
Liam - And finally, as 2017 comes to a close, what is Coventry United’s New Year’s resolution?
Ollinton - The best performances have come from us when we’ve stuck together against the odds and fought back to win. There’s a lot of points to fight for, so if we keep our resolve to stay united, we’re in with a chance.