Nothing But Blue Skies For Coventry On The Field

Steven Pressley Has To Get A WinEnglish League One team Coventry is a mess off the field but it is doing the business where it matters most and deserves support from punters for its home match against Gillingham.

One writes home match but Coventry is sharing Northampton’s Sixfields Stadium for the next three seasons because of a bitter dispute between the Sky Blues and their Ricoh Arena landlords. Most Coventry supporters are refusing to make the 70-mile round trip to watch their side play in Northampton, preferring to spend their money on watching their team play away from home. It is a story that has made big headlines in England, with Coventry fan and television presenter Richard Keys weighing into the debate and supporting the strike.

One could have forgiven Coventry boss Steven Pressley and his players had they started the term in poor form because the Sky Blues are a mess behind the scenes. But Pressley’s team has marked out itself as one of the best in English League One, going unbeaten since losing 2-3 away to Leyton Orient in the first round of the English Capital One Cup, a result that looks pretty good when one considers that the Os are top of the table with five wins from five games and the 10-man Sky Blues fought back from 1-2 to level up the score only for Os veteran Kevin Lisbie to win the match for them.

Gillingham is without a win in any competition this season, with lines through Bristol City, Colchester and Leyton Orient suggesting that Coventry is at least a couple of notches superior to the Gills. Gillingham has not kept a clean sheet in any of its eight games, which looms as a major issue given that Coventry is English League One’s top-scoring side. Coventry striker Callum Wilson has netted eight of his team’s 18 English League One goals, with the Sky Blues scoring for fun at the Sixfields Stadium even though only a couple of thousand fans are turning up.

Coventry is available at odds of 1.83 with Coral to leapfrog Gillingham on the English League One ladder seven matches into the tournament in spite of kicking off on minus 10 points because of an English Football League punishment related to its off-the-field dramas. Some punters thought that Coventry would be relegation fodder but Pressley has got the Sky Blues playing so well that they may end up challenging for promotion, albeit via the play-offs.

Two of the Italian Serie A newcomers clash when Verona takes on Sassuolo and, on current form, one has to be interested in the home side at odds of 2.25 with a bevy of bookmakers, namely Bet365.

Verona made a smart move to recruit 36-year-old forward Luca Toni ahead of its Italian Serie A return. Toni is not one of the prettiest strikers operating in the top flight of a big European football league but he is effective, with his large frame enabling him to make life difficult for even the most accomplished defenders. Verona signed Toni from Fiorentina and the warrior has made an immediate impact, scoring not only on his Verona debut in the Coppa Italia but also when Milan came to town in the first round of the Italian Serie A competition. Toni scored twice in Verona’s 2-1 home victory.

Home results are what will determine whether Verona and/or Sassuolo hang around in Italian Serie A for more than one term. Verona defeated Milan 2-1 on its home bow, whereas Sassuolo slumped to a shock 1-4 loss to the other one of the three promoted sides, Livorno. Sassuolo had no excuses for its embarrassing three-goal defeat and it did not win either of its matches versus Verona last season – drawing 1-1 at home and losing 0-1 on the road. Verona has improved so support it at attractive odds that are a couple of rolls over what they should be if one believes that Sassuolo will struggle to finish above its opponent on the ladder.

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