Coventry City have failed to get going this season after falling at the final promotion hurdle last campaign, Luton Town clinching an unbelievable promotion at the expense of the Sky Blues at Wembley in the second-tier playoff final – Mark Robins’ men cruelly losing out on the lottery of penalties.
Losing key individuals in the form of Victor Gyokeres and Gustavo Hamer was always going to impact Robins’ side, Coventry only winning three wins of their first 16 second-tier matches this campaign since the ex-star duo departed the west Midlands outfit.
Robins could well look to the January transfer window as an opportunity to significantly strengthen his faltering side, with this predicted Sky Blues lineup not out of the realms of possibility if everything goes to plan…
GK – Ben Wilson
Wilson has had a tricky last few matches in goal for the underperforming Sky Blues, dropped from Robins’ first-team plans altogether last time out in a goalless draw versus Stoke City.
The experienced shot-stopper will hope he’s picked by his manager again for Championship contests to come, responding to recent poor performances to become a reliable figure again in between the sticks.
RB – Joel Latibeaudiere
Plying his trade more commonly as a centre-back throughout his career, the 23-year-old since relocating to the CBS Arena has been switched to a right-back position frequently for his new employers.
Making an appearance in all 16 Coventry games so far this season in the second tier, Latibeaudiere will stick in this right-back spot for his side for the immediate future especially if Robins decides to add more bodies in central defence.
CB – Cameron Humphreys
Previously in the running for the current Rotherham United defender before he relocated to the Millers last year, Coventry could reignite interest in the 25-year-old defender to take advantage of the South Yorkshire’s side current predicament.
The Sky Blues do ideally need fresh legs in defence – shipping 21 goals in 16 second-tier games to date – so a deal for Humphreys could be back on the table.
Rotherham could, however, seek some comfort in the fact that their former Manchester City man is currently sidelined with a hamstring knock, meaning Robins might not risk pursuing the 25-year-old again this January.
CB – Bobby Thomas
Purchased this summer alongside regular centre-back partner Liam Kitching who drops out of his predicted eleven, Thomas has performed adequately for the Sky Blues to date since leaving Burnley behind.
Last time out versus Stoke, Thomas was resolute and brave from the back to shore up his side to pick up a rare clean sheet – winning four of his five aerial duels on the day per Sofascore.
LB – Jake Bidwell
Going into his third straight season at Coventry, Bidwell should be retained in the starting eleven in January even with the allure of the transfer window tempting Robins to bolster his full-back personnel.
Bidwell hasn’t started very many games for the Sky Blues this season, but he could see his minutes increase after an impactful display versus the Potters last time out – accurate with five of his 12 crosses in the match per Sofascore, the expansive full-back attempting to help his side break the deadlock in the 0-0 stalemate.
CDM – Josh Eccles
Eccles’ importance for the Sky Blues has significantly increased ever since the exit of Hamer, the west Midlanders needing a new hero centrally after Hamer departed for the Blades.
Coventry’s number 28 has been remarkably consistent for Robins’ men this season in a campaign where the Sky Blues haven’t hit the heights expected of them collectively.
Eccles has managed an average 7.28 Sofascore rating from all Championship encounters so far, a standout display coming against Rotherham United recently with Eccles winning four tackles at the New York Stadium.
CDM – Ben Sheaf
Similar to holding midfield partner Eccles in his overall game on the pitch, Sheaf will also retain his spot even if Robins is on the hunt for a new midfield face in January.
RM – Ellis Simms
Deployed as an unorthodox winger option versus Alex Neil’s men in Championship action last time out, Simms could be a regular option down the channels in the weeks to come for his pace and forward-thinking attitude on the ball.
The ex-Everton man has only netted twice since making the move to the CBS Arena official in the summer, but the 22-year-old will stay and has aspirations that he can morph into a reliable goalscorer for the Sky Blues soon even from down the wing.
CAM – Callum Styles
Callum Styles is a man the Sky Blues should consider signing to potentially replace the aforementioned Hamer. Indeed, he could well be the man for Coventry in central attacking midfield if Robins utilises the 4-2-3-1 formation consistently, the Hungary international itching for second-tier football after finding himself stuck in Barnsley quarters.
Styles’ ceiling is arguably above League One, and with Jamie Allen failing to impress this campaign for Robins’ performers, the current Tykes number 20 could be a like-for-like swap if a potential move is back on the cards.
LM – Haji Wright
Wright has needed time to bed himself into the Coventry squad, the American attacker showing signs of promise in recent matches with two goals scored up against Preston in a 3-2 defeat when played up top.
However, Wright was also equally effective down the left-hand side up against Stoke – unlucky not to break the deadlock, skewing two opportunities wide as per Sofascore.
ST – Colby Bishop
The third prospective signing that Robins could make this upcoming transfer window is swooping for star Portsmouth striker Colby Bishop, the ex-Accrington Stanley man firing in the goals for the League One pace-setters week in week out currently.
Netting ten goals from 16 appearances to date, Coventry will hope this method of poaching League One strikers – which has worked in the past with Matty Godden – comes good again with Bishop deserving of a step-up in quality to see if he can handle the demands of the second tier.