Reid set tough task to revive Coventry

The new Coventry City manager, Peter Reid, is confident he can propel the Sky Blues into the Premiership on a shoestring budget and within 12 months.

Reid, the replacement for Eric Black who was sacked earlier in the week, has been charged with the task of securing top flight football by the end of next season with City's chairman Mike McGinnity announcing play-off qualification would be the minimum requirement.

McGinnity also confirmed there would be no new money for Reid and his assistant manager Adrian Heath to spend, meaning signings would have to be financed by departures.

But Reid, who has signed a two-year-contract at Highfield Road, was undaunted and said: "People always seem to think I spent a lot of money at Sunderland, but when I was there I was criticised for not spending enough. It's a different scenario down here but I did a similar job at Sunderland when we won promotions to the Premiership in 1996 and then in 1999 after we'd gone down again.

"I've not seen a lot of Coventry lately but I've had reports and just because you're out of football, it doesn't mean you've dropped off the face of the planet. I know some of the players from old and there's stuff about them logged up here in my head.

"I know we've got the nucleus of a decent squad here, although it's probably fair to say there are a lot of young players.

"But I come with contacts in the world of football and with the way finances are at the moment, I believe wages for players who are out of contract will be dropping in the summer. I think close-season will be a time for managers to pick up some bargains and there's also a market for loan players out there."

He added: "The first thing to do is get Sunday's game out of the way. Then I'll have a chance to sit down with the players who are out of contract here and hold some discussions. I'm going to have to make some decisions, yes, and they'll have to be quick decisions."

Reid said his immediate priority would be to shore up a defence which had leaked 53 goals this season prior to Sunday's match with visiting Crystal Palace.

"I like my teams to be hard to beat," said Reid, "but don't get me wrong, I also like them to play football. You can't play well every week though and that's why you have to develop a resilience, an ability to grind out results when you're not playing well.

"I want us to play to our strengths and if they're comfortable on the ball and like passing it around then I want them to keep doing that. But I also want a certain resilience about the team. If we can achieve that, I think we'll have every chance of going up."

Reid's appointment was not universally welcomed by Coventry fans. "It's like dismissing Renoir as artist in residence and bringing in Rolf Harris," one fans' website said. "Only worse. Far worse."

Reid's Bradford counterpart manager Bryan Robson, meanwhile, said the club's financial state has had a big impact on himself and his players as they prepare for their final match of the season at Millwall.

Bradford have been plunged further into crisis after it was revealed the proposed rescue package to save the club is almost certain to fall through.

A creditors meeting, which was due to take place today to vote on the Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) has been postponed a week, giving the Bantams' chief executive Julian Rhodes a week to resolve unfulfilled issues.

"They [the squad] are very concerned ," said Robson. "The players were looking forward to Friday when they were hoping the CVA would get passed and they would know where they stand. You can understand the players' concern because they have families to think about."

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