Dublin switch has Coventry on the move

Leicester City 0 Coventry City 2
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The Independent Online
Desperate times demand desperate measures, but you do not often pull out of a tailspin by sending the pilot back to sit in the rear-gunner's seat. However, the Coventry manager, Gordon Strachan, seems to have achieved that unlikely feat.

A week ago Dion Dublin was Coventry's most effective attacker, but his club has plummeted to the bottom of the Premiership because the defence was leaking goals faster than he could score them. Strachan's radical solution was to switch Dublin to full-back. Since then, Coventry have beaten Newcastle at home and recorded their first away win - results that have lifted them out of the relegation zone.

Admittedly, Dublin is not yet the finished article in his new role. His positional sense and tackling are excellent but his clearances still seem like those of a centre-forward. But in adding backbone to a wilting defence, he has not lost his appetite for goals. He continues to function as Coventry's force through the air and his sorties into the penalty area on Saturday added two more notches to his tally.

Both came from set-pieces - a corner and a free-kick - and on each occasion his cannon was primed by Gary McAllister. The Scottish captain is now his old, majestic self again in midfield, and his part in Coventry's revival has been even more important, if less remarkable, than Dublin's.

If Coventry's youthful front runners - the bustling Darren Huckerby and the rangy Noel Whelan - had been able to capitalise on McAllister's service as effectively as Dublin, they might have won more convincingly even though Leicester had greater position and territorial advantage.

As they did against Newcastle, Coventry fell back in numbers whenever they lost the ball, soaking up the pressure until McAllister could provide another telling pass to change the direction of the game.

Leicester had neither a playmaker to match McAllister (though Neil Lennon huffed and puffed tirelessly) nor a striker of the ball to match Dublin, with Steve Claridge and Emile Heskey wasting clear chances. And when the defender Ian Marshall replicated Dublin's powerful headers, Steve Ogrizovic made the save of the match.

The Leicester manager, Martin O'Neill, complained of "a patched-up side" and a lack of strength in depth in his squad. "The chairman has just told me there is now some money for new players," he said after this defeat. But it might be cheaper and more effective to follow Strachan's lead and see what a conversion job on one of his existing staff can do.

Goals: Dublin (11) 0-1; Dublin (72) 0-2.

Leicester City (4-4-2): Keller; Prior, Hill (Parker, 76), Marshall, Kamark; Grayson, Taylor, Lennon, Izzett; Claridge, Heskey. Substitutes not used: Watts, Robins, Campbell, Poole (gk).

Coventry City (3-5-2): Ogrizovic; Dublin, Daish, Shaw; Telfer, McAllister, Richardson, Williams, Salako; Huckerby (Jess, 90), Whelan. Substitutes not used: Borrows, Boland, Genaux, Filan (gk).

Referee: G Barber (Surrey).

Bookings: None.

Man of the match: McAllister.

Attendance: 20,038.

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