Mark Robins will give his new-look Coventry City side it’s toughest test of the pre-season to date when they take on Championship opposition behind-closed-doors today.
The Sky Blues will travel to newly-relegated Huddersfield Town for their third friendly of the warm-up schedule, while the Under-23s take on Telford United at New Bucks Head.
“The game at Telford will be mostly younger ones but there will be one or two from my squad, but still a young side,” said the City boss.
“It’s important the supporters understand that so they don’t all go expecting to see everyone and end up disappointed.
“One or two will be on show but the majority will come with me for the behind-closed-doors game.”
As for what he hopes to get out of the senior game, the manager said: “It’s still primarily fitness but we have done a lot of work.
“They certainly haven’t had a lot of time off and they have concentrated and given me everything, so that bodes well.
“I’m looking forward to the game which will be a big test.
“But I am happy with it and it’s a really good fixture for us, even though there will be no supporters in there.
“Then we have Liverpool 23s on Wednesday night and Swindon away on the Saturday before another game behind-closed-doors on the Tuesday before the season starts.”
Robins on Chaplin
Mark Robins has revealed that Coventry City striker Conor Chaplin asked to leave the club.
And the Sky Blues boss admits that the deal to take the 22-year-old to newly promoted Championship Barnsley was simply too good to turn down.
City will double their money on the player they paid Portsmouth £500,000 for last season in a deal that could rise to around £1million.
Coventry had initially rejected the Tykes’ advances, knocking back a £700,000 bid in May but Oakwell chiefs came back this week with an improved offer that met the club’s valuation of the player.
Chaplin’s departure opens the door for Robins to move for a ready-made replacement, with Nottingham Forest striker Tyler Walker the man he wants to recruit to get goals next season.
The striker, who is also 22, scored 26 times for League Two Mansfield Town last season and will be available on loan if Forest are successful in securing their own striker targets before the transfer window shuts.
Asked about how the Chaplin deal unfolded, the City boss told CoventryLive: “Conor wanted to go.
“He came and asked me to leave and that’s something he wanted to do.
“And he wasn’t necessarily leaving us, it was to go and play in the Championship and when you get an opportunity like that, and it was right for us as well, you can’t really knock that back.
“I would have done but it suited me, and still suits me, and suits us as a football club as well for a number of reasons and also gives us the opportunity to do something else.
“You don’t let them go unless the deal is right.”
As for a replacement, Robins said: “I have got a couple in mind and one that I have been pursuing for a while.”
Conor on his big move
Conor Chaplin has spoken of his delight at finally getting his move from Coventry City to Championship Barnsley.
The 22-year-old Sky Blues striker has signed a four-year contract with the newly-promoted Tykes in a deal understood to be around the £1million mark.
“I’m so happy to get it over the line,” said the player, whom City bought for £500,000 from Portsmouth last season.
“There’s been a bit of speculation over the summer and I’m glad to be here, ready to get started!”
Speaking to the club’s official website, he added: “I’m looking forward to meeting up with the lads in Germany and getting to know everyone ahead of an exciting season in the Championship.”
Chief Executive Officer at Barnsley FC, Dane Murphy said: “Conor Chaplin’s profile is a rarity in English football and the club believes he will fit seamlessly into our playing philosophy. He has been coveted by our staff for some time.
“This latest addition further improves our young, dynamic attacking core. Most importantly, he is a person of high character and in our research we’ve found that he is well-liked in each team he has been a part of.
“We are delighted to have him on board and think he will excite the Reds fans.”
What happens to Conor cash
Mark Robins has explained what will happen to the money Coventry City have made from the sale of Conor Chaplin.
The Sky Blues have made a “substantial” profit on the striker they bought for £500,000 from Portsmouth in January following an initial loan spell at the Ricoh Arena, and just sold to Championship Barnsley.
And although Pompey are due to get a share of the cash boost from a sell-on fee, City are still quids in on the deal that could rise above £1million.
Some fans are hoping the injection of funds will strengthen City’s arm in their pursuit of Wolves playmaker Bright Enobakhare.
Coventry have already made a £600,000 bid for the 21-year-old.
As for a replacement for Chaplin, Robins has targeted Nottingham Forest striker Tyler Walker who is hoped to be made available on loan, having spent last season at League Two Mansfield Town where he bagged 26 goals in all competitions.
Asked if he will get the Chaplin money to reinvest in the team, Robins told CoventryLive: “No, not necessarily.
“I have not asked for that and I don’t necessarily need that.
“And I have got to be mindful because we have to manage the spend, and obviously moving stadium means we’re going to have a shortfall in revenue, and that’s unknown.
“That’s the thing about spinning plates. We have brought players in and the net spend will be negative and we have got to be like that otherwise we’ll put ourselves in trouble.
“We know what we have sold season ticket-wise now but we don’t know what the following will be to Birmingham.
“We know the away following is always spectacular but we don’t get any of the revenue from that, so it’s all those things that have a knock-on.”
Latest season ticket figures
Coventry City have revealed the latest number of season tickets sold for their groundshare season at St Andrew’s.
The Sky Blues put the tickets on sale June 10.
And with just over two weeks to go until the new League One campaign kicks off against Southend United, the club report that they have sold just over 2,300.
Fans have until midnight on Wednesday (July 24) to benefit from the ‘Early Bird’ discount.
City sold just under 7,000 season tickets for the Ricoh Arena last season where there the average gate was 12,362, up 33 per cent on the 2017-18 campaign of 9,255.
If away fans are taken out of the figures, City’s average home following was 11,161, up 32% from 8,434.
The cheapest adult groundshare season ticket costs £260 at the early bird rate, which equates to £11.30 per game.
That compares to £299 (£13 per game) for an early bird standard zone ticket last season at the Ricoh.
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