Coleman hoping for Coventry's cup luck to hold

Click to follow
The Independent Football

The Coventry City manager, Chris Coleman, spent the latter part of Saturday's home defeat to Bristol City in the stands after being dismissed from the touchline at the Ricoh Arena, but he will hope to have a more positive effect on proceedings tonight for the visit of Newcastle United in the second round of the Carling Cup.

Coleman will be looking for his players to evoke the spirit of last year's Cup exploits, when they recorded wins over Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers, but admits his squad are under-strength. Goalkeeper Kieren Westwood [concussion] and Freddy Eastwood [groin] will both miss out, while the right-back Stephen Wright is struggling with an Achilles injury.

"Newcastle is a great draw and if we were going in with a full squad, we'd be thinking 'lovely!'," the Welshman said. "You want your best players fit and in the right positions, and we haven't got that at the minute."

Newcastle are unbeaten after their opening two games, Saturday's win over Bolton Wanderers following a point at Old Trafford the previous week, but their manager, Kevin Keegan, said he is aware of the Sky Blues' recent cup pedigree.

"It's going to be a tough place to go, Coventry have started off well," he said. "I know they were beaten on Saturday, but they started off with six points from two games and they have got a guy who I really respect in charge. They are a club that are looking to build and it is a good test for us in a competition we take very seriously."

Middlesbrough are another Premier League club entertaining hopes of winning the competition, manager Gareth Southgate hoping his side can build on last weekend's creditable display at Liverpool when they host Yeovil tonight.

"Maybe we cannot win the Premier League, but we can win the Carling Cup," Southgate said. "We have done it before [in 2004], and will be looking for a decent run. So much about cups is in the lap of the gods, but we have to maintain the form that we have shown already. It is going to be something of a contrast, going from Anfield to Yeovil but it is a competition that we can genuinely win – we have to believe that."

Dean Windass, Hull City's 39-year-old talismanic forward, could make a first start of the season as his side travel to the Liberty Stadium to face Swansea City. Another player looking to take the chance to impress manager Phil Brown is Bryan Hughes. "It is frustrating not to be playing so hopefully the Carling Cup will give one or two a chance to show the manager what they are capable of," Hughes said.

"So I have to look at it as an opportunity to show the boss what I can do and stake a claim – hopefully give him a bit of headache over selection."

The leaders of the Championship, Birmingham City, travel to Southampton for the second time in 10 days, looking for a repeat of their 2-1 victory in the League. Kevin Phillips's late winner in that match was one of three goals in four games for the former Saints favourite, and their manager Alex McLeish will hope he can again torment his former club as the Blues seek a fifth successive victory.