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Interview with an away fan: Coventry City


After two back to back wins Leeds United take on Coventry at Elland Road tomorrow. Coventry City fanatic and blogger Neil Allison gave me an insight into what Leeds fans can expect tomorrow. You can see Neil's page here.

You sit 19th in the table and beat Nottingham Forest on Saturday. Did you deserve the win?

I would say so. It wasn't a game to remember by any stretch, but Forest are clearly lacking in confidence at the moment, and we had a few more decent moments in the game than them. I heard the guys on Radio Nottingham felt differently when we scored, but they would, wouldn't they.

Your current boss Andy Thorn is a former scout. Does he have the ability to manage you to safety, and more importantly keep you in the division this year?

I'm sure he has the ability - whether he has the tools or backing is another question entirely. He showed at the end of last season that he was able to quickly develop an attractive style of play, which eventually had us troubling plenty of teams in the division. The problem we have now is that we let half our squad go in the summer (including most of our 'star' names), and haven't really replaced any of them. Thorny strikes me as a good motivator, with good intentions and ideas, but there's only so much he can do when players keep disappearing.

Although for me your team isn't the worst in the division, many expect you to go down. Do you think you can stay up and what are the expectations this season?

Not the worst eh, thanks very much! The period between now and Christmas is key I think. It all gets pretty intense and you start to see the difference between those teams who are actually going to do well, and those who've just had a lucky run. It's usually the same period when our early season form deserts us and we fall back into mid-table. This year's clearly going to be different and I'm livid that we have to accept yet another season of nonsense because of a board that quite clearly hasn't a clue what it's doing. Nevertheless, if Thorn can somehow rediscover the performances he masterminded last year, we should be able to steer clear of relegation.

What did you think of former Leeds coach Aidy Boothroyd?

I liked what Aidy said, more than what Aidy did. He was tremendously enthusiastic, ambitious and impatient (he wanted success - now). He started brightly and gave us our best first half of the campaign since the year after we went down. Truth is, it was still very hit and miss up until then, and his long style of play was becoming less and less effective. For some reason, long ball teams also gain one hell of a reputation as a 'dirty' team and keep getting people sent off. We weren't a dirty team, but things went tits up from there on in. He was shown to have very little in terms of plan B, so when it became clear that long ball wasn't going to work against the good teams, we were stuffed. Nice chap though - just needs a bit more invention in what he sends on to the pitch.

Leeds were heavily linked with Sammy Clingan over the summer. What are your thoughts on this, what type of player is Sammy Clingan and do you expect him to stay at the club?

Of all the players who either left, or were linked to leave in the summer, Sammy is the one who we have pretty much zero cover for. We have no-one else who can do the job he does in the middle of the park, keeping us ticking over. You can trust Sammy to defuse a tricky situation with his reading of the game and calmness in possession. He's in the final year of his contract now, and it's looking likely that he'll bugger off at the end of it. You can't blame him, really. He's got marvellous technique and a beautiful strike of dead ball. Don't be put off that other Coventry midfielder Michael Doyle - this guy is a class above, and you'd be lucky to have him.

Unless you go up, then you probably won't need to bother.

When Gary McShefferey joined us from Birmingham we hoped we had signed a quality player. We were very disappointed to say the least, do you rate him?

One week I do, the other I don't. He's like that is Gary. Very inconsistent, which is why he never really made it in the Premiership. He certainly didn't do himself justice during his spell at Elland Road, but he's a better player than you saw, I can say that much. On his day, he's a lethal finisher, but shows typical lower league traits of being unable to sustain a run of good form beyond a few games. He’s supposed to be one of our key players this season, but injuries have kept from playing much up to this point.

Who do Leeds fans need to watch out for on Saturday?

It has to be Lukas Jutkiewicz (don't worry about pronouncing the T). He's a big strong lad, who may look a little cumbersome, but has a deceptive stride once he gets going. He's scored pretty much all our goals this season and will cause your defence some grief through his presence, if nothing else. He's still young, so he’s not quite as decisive with the ball at his feet in the box as he could be, but he's starting to get a taste for the goals (5 so far this year), and is becoming our 'one to watch'.

If you could have any Leeds player who would it be?

Can I have more than one? Your squad puts ours to shame. Snodgrass always impresses me when he plays, and a quality winger wouldn’t go amiss in our team. But as I alluded to earlier, Sammy Clingan is pretty much our midfield at the moment, and I can only imagine what difference someone like Jonny Howson could make. Young captains always catch my eye, as we often see youngsters taking years to look accomplished on the pitch. Howson’s got a real class about him however, and would be an asset to any Championship club, especially with his ability to grab goals from midfield.

Prediction for the match? I say 2-0 Leeds we are on a good run at present and can't see anything but a win.

Our away record isn’t great this year, and a loss would seem to be on the cards. Confidence should be a bit higher after the win at the weekend though, so we should at least give you a decent game for the most part. You’ll take it 3-1 I think.