Coventry City 2, Preston North End 1: Dowie finds quality when shopping for bargains

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The Independent Football

After watching Coventry maintain their impressive start to the season with victory over Preston, their manager, Iain Dowie, allowed himself a pat on the back for taking decisive action in the transfer market early this summer.

An American consortium was poised to take control of the club throughout the close season and, though Coventry's financial position was shrouded in uncertainty, Dowie moved to strengthen his squad with a string of free transfers.

The new Coventry team have gelled quickly and this win, featuring excellent goals from Dele Adebola and the captain, Michael Doyle, kept them a point clear at the top of the Championship.

Dowie said: "We had to make a difficult decision at one stage when we were wondering whether to wait until the takeover happened or act in the free market and we decided to do the latter.

"If we had not acted in the free market, we would have lost players like Arjan de Zeeuw, Julian Gray, Ellery Cairo and Gary Borrowdale and I'm pleased that we've got those players."

Dowie's team started the game brightly but Preston took the lead in the 16th minute after a poor clearance from Coventry's goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos was headed down by Kevin Nicholls into the path of Patrick Agyemang, who calmly slotted home.

However, the home side were not deterred and continued to create chances. Marcus Hall clipped the bar with a header but it took until the 80th minute for Adebola's superb turn and finish to bring Coventry level. Five minutes later Doyle smashed a left-footed drive into the top corner for the winner.

The result confirmed Coventry's best start to a season for 14 years and Adebola was quick to acknowledge the part Dowie has played in moulding a squad with promotion potential.

"The gaffer has created a brilliant atmosphere at the club," he said. "We have got an excellent spirit here and all the lads are really pleased for each other when they score or do well.

"We are a very fit squad," Adebola added, "and there's loads of quality going forward."

As Dowie and Coventry enjoyed the warm glow of victory, Preston were left to lick their wounds as they struggle at the wrong end of the table. The loss of last season's top scorer David Nugent has obviously hit Paul Simpson's side hard – Agyemang's goal was Preston's first in the league this season.

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