Bury will be without the much-improved Antony Kay after he picked up his 10th league booking of the season in the 1-0 win over Charlton at the weekend. The captain will have to sit out two more vital clashes against teams in or just outside the relegation zone at present in Coventry and Gillingham.
For Lee Clark’s first home game in charge, expect to see Sunderland loanee Tom Beadling come in for his first taste of action in a white shirt. The option does exist to shift Taylor Moore inside and put new signing Paul Caddis in his place but given that it’s such a demanding role, I can’t see that being what happens or at least not for the whole duration of the game.
If James Vaughan has recovered from his short-term injury, I think he will start alongside Tom Pope to keep the options fresh up top. Will Ferry could also make his way onto the bench for the very first time. The 16 year-old travelled down with the club to Charlton and Kay’s suspension could mean a place for him in the matchday squad proper.
As for Coventry, under-fire manager Russell Slade has promised several changes for a match they simply have to win. Young midfielder George Thomas has been their only player to escape fans’ criticism and the squad as a whole has badly underperformed under both previous incumbent Tony Mowbray and Slade this season. Look for Kevin Foley to protect his back four at all costs and bring the ball out of defence to free one of his team-mates. Stuart Beavon should be fit to return to the starting lineup and he’s already scored against Bury this season, albeit for Burton in the EFL Cup. Getting support to him and his strike partner, possibly Kyel Reid, will be key to keeping the Sky Blues in the game for as long as possible. They are down but not yet out and Bury cannot take them lightly, despite their rock-bottom standing in the table. They have recently beaten Saturday’s opponents Gillingham and are also in the EFL Trophy Final, a competition they have managed to win more matches in than in the league.
The long, storied history of SISU goes a long way to explaining Coventry’s current plight but a large number of players have been woeful this season. They need to perform for the duration of tonight’s game and the remaining 12 both for the sake of their own careers. In doing so, they can restore at least a modicum of pride in a club whose fans, like Charlton’s, have had it extremely tough in recent years at the hands of owners whose motives are somewhat questionable and I have a large amount of sympathy for both sets of supporters.
^ This was handed to me outside the ground at Charlton on Saturday…
As for a prediction, I think it will be 2-0 to Bury but it will not by any means be an easy victory. Exile Jr. has again for the ‘snake eyes’ scoreline of 0-0, which would be the second stalemate between these sides this term.