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"The players have a point to prove that they can win without Reda Johnson." Coventry City's Steven Pressley

19 December 2014

The Sky Blues boss has challenged his side to win without the Benin international at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday and to win matches consistently when the defender is not in the side...

Coventry City manager Steven Pressley has urged his team to prove that they can win without defender Reda Johnson.

The Sky Blues have won just two games without the Benin international this season, against Wycombe Wanderers and Exeter City in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

Johnson has been ruled out of the clash against Fleetwood Town due to injury and Pressley wants his side to step-up and take three points without the former Sheffield Wednesday man.

Pressley said: "If we break the season down into three sections so far; the first section of seven games were play-off material, the second phase of seven games was relegation form and now as we approach the seventh game of the third section, it's potentially play-off form again.

"That middle period has been extremely costly, where the absences of influential players affected us, including Reda Johnson. The reality is when he's not in the team, results simply have not been good enough in the league. From the players perspective, they need to prove without Reda they can get results consistently and it's a big challenge, something they really have to stand up and show. 

"Every aspect of our play is structured around a team manner but he has big influence on the team and everyone needs to show they can win games in his absence. Our physicality was one of the things we needed to improve on, the bread and butter of the game and that's something Reda does particularly well, but the other players need to handle the game and prove a point that they can win football matches over a period of time without him."

City entertain the Cod Army tomorrow at the Ricoh Arena looking to make it back-to-back wins in League One against a side who sit two points above them in the table.

Pressley expects a tough game against Graham Alexander's team who have only conceded 19 goals in the league and whilst the current system has helped City to just one defeat in their last four league games, the manager will take into account the situation when picking his side.

"We will try and create opportunities against Fleetwood," Pressley continued. 

"They haven't given away many goals and in any one of their defeats its always been by the odd goal. So we're expecting a tight encounter, it will be a real challenge to find the solutions and we've worked on that this week.

"There is no doubt that our midfielders still need to contribute with more goals and I want to see more creativity from them.

"Last Saturday, it was pleasing to see Jim O'Brien go through on goal for Gary Madine's goal and they are moments I want to see more of. We've had good fluency in our play in our system over the past few games and I have to look at the scenario, Fleetwood and playing at home. I've got decisions to make on the system that has served us well but we need to be flexible in our choices and pick a system to win matches game by game."

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