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P-word replaces R-word for Sky Blues

16 November 2013

By Tony Leighton

As Coventry City prepare to visit Bradford City for Sunday's televised Sky Bet League 1 clash it is with their aims for the season dramatically changed.

The Sky Blues started the campaign with a 10-point deduction and avoiding relegation was the biggest ambition of Steven Pressley's team, admitted the manager, even following a couple of good early-season results.

But after a run of six wins from their last seven outings - with leaders Leyton Orient among their victims and the only game they didn't win ending in a draw at second in the table Wolverhampton Wanderers - Coventry are looking like promotion candidates rather than survival strugglers.

Victory on Sunday would take them level on points with Bradford, who start the weekend in sixth place, and Sky Blues boss Pressley told football-league.co.uk: "I did mention the R-word early on, but the emphasis has changed.

"It's changed from me not talking about relegation - because no-one believes me anymore - to just winning the next game. My message to the players is, 'let's not look too far ahead, if we win the next game we move forward.' If we continue to do that then we've got a chance, there's no doubt about that.

"I can tell from the supporters how very excited they are about the current team, but we're only 15 games into the season and a lot can change.

"Look at Tranmere last year - they were at the top of the division at this stage but ended up way outside the Play-Off places - that's how football can be."

Pressley knows just how football can be, on the minus as well as on the plus side, and with a relatively small squad he is hoping that the progress of his exciting and predominantly young team will not be hampered by injury and suspension.

Key to Coventry's success to date have been strike partners Callum Wilson and Leon Clarke, who between them have hit 22 of the team's 34 league goals.

"If you've got a system and the players to suit the system that's great," said Pressley, "but if you start losing players who are key to your success it's very difficult to find replacements, that I absolutely know.

"It's always a concern, but it's something that I have no control over so I just have to get on with what we have at this moment in time. It's very important that we keep those players fit and focused, so fingers crossed they will remain that way."

Pressley will be keeping his fingers crossed that Wilson and Clarke, with 11 league goals apiece, will continue their devastating double act at Bradford.

But the manager knows that his team are in for a tough time as they look to stretch their unbeaten run to eight matches. "It's going to be difficult for us against a team that are always well organised.

"Bradford are direct, they like to get the ball forward early and we will have to be very compact as a back four. But if we play to our levels, it's a game we can win."

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