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Match Previews

2015/16 preview - introducing Coventry City FC

2 June 2015

Meet Millwall's League One opponents

COVENTRY CITY

Founded: 1883

Stadium: Ricoh Arena

Nickname: Sky Blues

Position: 17th in League One

Manager: Coventry City were delighted to get their man when Tony Mowbray agreed a two-year contract and was appointed boss on a permanent basis in May 2015.

Mowbray's vast experience - including managerial spells with Ipswich, Hibs, Celtic, West Brom and Middlesbrough - stood him in good stead when he initially took charge on a two-month contract in March following the departure of Stephen Pressley from the Sky Blues' hotseat.

With Coventry struggling at the wrong end of the League One table and in real danger of dropping down to League Two, Mowbray's tactical nous and astute use of his squad paid dividends as he steered the Sky Blues to safety on the final day of the season with a 2-1 win at Crawley Town.

Mowbray's first managerial appointment was caretaker boss at Ipswich Town following George Burley's departure in October 2002.

He then got his first big chance in Scotland 18 months later at Hibernian, where he was a relative success, with his side winning more than half their games under him.

Mowbray returned to England when he replaced Bryan Robson at West Brom in October 2006 and led the Baggies to the Championship title in 2008. However 12 months later Albion were relegated from the Premier League and Mowbray left to join Scottish giants Celtic.

His stint north of the border lasted just nine months but by the end of 2010 he had rejoined his boyhood club Middlesbrough, with whom he had spent the majority of his playing career.

He was at Boro for three years, enjoying a best-placed finish of seventh in the Championship in 2012.

Hugely popular with the fans wherever he has played and managed, 51-year-old Mowbray is relishing the challenge at Coventry City and his appointment seems to have gone down very well with Sky Blues' supporters.

Key Player: Academy graduate Jordan Willis was one of the shining lights for Coventry City during the 2014/15 campaign and was rewarded for his efforts when the Sky Blues took up a one-year option on his current contract at the end of the season.

Having signed on professional terms in May 2012, the young defender made his England bow when he featured for the Under 18s side in a 3-0 win against Poland on March 7th, having made his professional debut against Southampton the previous November as a second-half sub.

The final game of the 2011/12 season saw Willis make his full debut at Southampton, but it was over the following 12 months that he really established himself as a first-team regular.

The steady performances of the 20-year-old continued last year, where he featured both in his preferred position at centre-half and also right-back, making 41 appearances in all for Coventry.

Top scorer (joint): Reda Johnson & Jim O'Brien (6 goals)

Head-to-head: The Sky Blues and Lions have met on 56 previous occasions, and there is very little to separate the two teams when it comes down to results.

Millwall sit just two victories ahead, having won 24 games to Coventry's 22, with the remaining 10 matches finishing all-square. The Lions enjoyed a win double the last time the sides were in the same division, during the 2011/12 campaign, when Darius Henderson (2) and Liam Feeney scored in a 3-0 home success and Shane Lowry bagged the winner in the return fixture at the Ricoh Arena.

Last time we met: Defender Shane Lowry popped up with the only goal of the game to secure a 1-0 win for Millwall at Coventry City when the two sides last locked horns just over three years ago on 17th April 2012.

The Lions, featuring a certain young Harry Kane in their ranks, proved excellent value for a victory in an end-of-season run that steered Kenny Jackett's side away from Championship danger to second-tier safety.

Coventry were handed a golden opportunity to open the scoring when Cody McDonald was brought down by Lions keeper MaikTaylor. However the 40-year-old pulled off a fine save to push away Gary McSheffrey's spot-kick just before the hour.

Six minutes later they paid a heavy price for that miss when Lowry headed in from Alan Dunne's cross to secure Millwall's fourth straight win with his first goal for the club.

Coventry City: Murphy, Keogh, Hussey, Cranie, Clarke, Clingan, Bell (Baker,63mins), Norwood, McSheffrey, McDonald, Platt, Dunn, Willis, Baker, Thomas, Bigirimana.

Millwall: Taylor, Craig, Barron, Ward (Dunne, 59mins), Smith, Lowry, Henry, Abdou, Wright (Trotter, 46mins), Keogh, Kane. Subs not used: Forde, Feeney, Batt.
Scorer: Lowry (66mins)

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