Mark Robins’ Coventry City side are in an enviable position to say the least, heading into the international break.
From winning promotion from the Sky Bet League One and cementing their place in the Sky Bet Championship the following year, the Sky Blues have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with this season, after returning to the Coventry Building Society Arena.
But high-flying City couldn’t have done it without the backing of their fan-base, according to Sky Blues boss Robins, who cited supporters’ excitement to get back into grounds.
“I think there’s a number of factors in that,” he said, speaking on the Official EFL Podcast. “The return to the city of Coventry was huge.
“With the pandemic, people haven’t been able to come and watch so that’s obviously fed into the fact that people were desperate to get back and watch the team again.”
Coventry, who went up as champions from League One at the end of the 2019/20 campaign, eight points clear of third-placed Wycombe Wanderers, made a return to the Championship after an eight-year absence.
But there was nobody to bask in the Sky Blues’ glory in person, after a spectator ban was implemented on the back of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We’ve had a really successful period while they’ve been away,” he added. “We got promoted from League One and stayed in the division last year which was really important because it would’ve been a tragedy if they didn’t get chance to see the team play in the Championship for the first time since 2012. That makes a big, big difference.
“The supporters have backed the team and backed the players, and myself and the staff. We always talk about the 12th man and it’s something that the managers say all the time, but it really is remarkable, the fact that we’ve sold over 11,000 season tickets this season. That’s the first time since the 1960s that we’ve done it.”
Robins’ men showed character to bounce back from a 5-0 defeat at Luton Town, beating Fulham 4-1 three days later.
“We didn’t see that coming at all, but the support was unbelievable. They never wavered and they supported the players.
“The biggest thing for us is feeling that environment and that energy that they give because it is incredible. We’ve had a lot of late goals that we’ve scored this season and it’s not little to do with the support. That’s really the important and they understand, they get it.”