Another blow for Coventry City as news emerged this week that Cyrus Christie is going to be out injured for another 6 months. With the squad getting smaller we can ill afford these sorts of injuries to any players within the squad.
We currently have nine defenders at the club who are in the first team squad which on the face of it seems no problem at all; this however is unlikely to be the case with more players set to leave the club.
Martin Cranie is the first obvious one that will leave as he is out of contract this summer and there are going to be bigger clubs willing to offer him a contract. He is a good player and a solid defender but I’m not sure he is particularly loyal and for that reason I think he will leave.
Then there is James McPake who has been on loan at Hibernian in what was supposed to be a loan to get his fitness back up to scratch. However he has been a huge hit at Easter Road and was even made captain. He is a no nonsense, fully committed defender which would be useful for us next season but its looking unlikely that he will remain at Coventry after what has clearly been a successful loan spell at Hibernian.
A third who is likely to leave is Richard Keogh who has unquestionably been our best player this season. His passion and commitment to the cause is at times unbelievable and he would be a huge asset to us next season. However after his continuous impressive performances this season it looks likely that a bigger team will come in and poach him away from the skyblues.
Reported bids have already come in from the likes of Bristol City and Cardiff City and there is rumored interest from many others clubs such as Ipswich Town. He does however seem like a great lad and a potentially loyal footballer; I can’t imagine that relegation would have hit anybody much harder than it did him and I can see him wanting to try to make things right before he leaves.
However cashing in on the likes of McPake and Keogh is probably the biggest reason why they are both likely to go. The club needs money and selling these players seems to be the only real source of income that the club has left.
This would mean that there would be three of the nine defenders gone, all of which are centre backs. We would then be left with Richard Wood who we all know has injury issues and usually spends more time on the sidelines than actually playing and the only other centre half we have is Nathan Cameron who is still young and shouldn’t be relied on as a first choice centre back. He has shown signs of potential but has also shown a lot of naivety and if he were to play would need someone experienced alongside him to help him out.
Other defenders in the squad include Jordan Clarke who is a really promising right back and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was interest from other clubs in him. He himself however has reiterated his desire to stay at Coventry and I sincerely hope that he does.
We then have Chris Hussey who after gaining some championship experience is just beginning to flourish. He has clearly been learning in his time at Coventry after being signed from non-league but I have witnessed improvements within his game and he is slowly but surely becoming a good defender.
We also have young Jordan Willis who made a couple of appearances at the end of this season and he did do ok. He is however very young and personally I don’t think he is quite ready to be in the first team squad, however, it may however be a case that necessity requires him to be and if that is the case I just hope he can learn quickly and make the step up.
Finally we have the previously mentioned Cyrus Christie who really did flourish this season and has shown a lot of promise for the future. However with him being injured and likely to miss the first half of the season we may have a bit of a defensive crisis on our hands.
With still no update on when the transfer embargo is going to be removed if at all, these may be the set of defenders that we start the new season with. If Keogh, Cranie and McPake do all leave, along with the injury to Christie we will be left with five fit defenders and that is if Wood can prove his fitness.
Being realistic it is clearly unlikely that as a squad we will be able to cope defensively. With strikers at the bare minimum and now defenders, we are going to have the problem of not only scoring goals but not conceding them as well.
The new season continues to look bleak and will continue to do so unless this transfer embargo is removed. We cannot rely on the squad we have, we need fresh faces and some new impetus but it still remains to be seen whether bringing in new players is going to be possible.
With our current owners in place I would regrettably suggest that this transfer embargo will not be lifted anytime soon and I would not be surprised if we haven’t added any players to the squad come the start of the season. Based on this it looks like another long hard season is on the cards and right now I am just hoping that I am proved wrong.