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INTERVIEW: Midfielder Liam Kelly looks ahead to Mansfield encounter

"The motivation is there for us players that we finish this season strongly and give ourselves the best chance of promotion..."

23 February 2018

Coventry City midfielder Liam Kelly said he was delighted to be back playing football as he looked ahead to this weekend’s away match against Mansfield Town.

The 28-year-old was forced out of action with a heel injury in November, but returned to action last month.

“It’s always a frustrating time when you’re out injured,” said Kelly.

“It was a strange injury; one that we couldn’t get to go away. I’m glad to be back out playing now. There’s nothing better than playing football.”

Saturday’s visit to Field Mill is the start of run of matches against promotion rivals for the Sky Blues, and Kelly is in no doubt as to the importance of the encounters.

“They’re going to be two very tough games. They’re two teams who are doing very well in the league. We’ve been going through a tricky period at the minute where results haven’t really gone our way. We can take something away from our performance at Brighton, albeit a defeat but things are looking positive.

“We’ve got a few lads coming back from injury which will strengthen us. But our full focus is on tomorrow now. It’s a big game for us and if we want to be getting ourselves back into the playoffs then we have to get something out of these next few games.”

The Sky Blues have arguably performed better against teams higher in the league that those in those lower reaches, and Kelly thinks that an attacking improvement could be key in changing that trend.

“It’s just something that seems to have happened this season that we’ve all performed better against the better sides in the league,” Kelly commented.

“Defensively we’ve been very good this season but we’ve not scored a great amount of goals. I think we can take credit from how could we have been defensively but if we can just add a few more goals up the other end, from all over the pitch, then I think that could be the telling difference for us in these last few games.”

Kelly and Michael Doyle have been in the middle of the midfield for Mark Robins’ side for much of this season, and with a possible return for the City Captain at Mansfield, Kelly praised the impact of his team-mate.

“He’s a very experienced player. He’s someone who has experience of winning this league last season, so he has been a big miss. But he may be back tomorrow which would be a big boost to us but we’ll see. You enjoy playing with him because he is a very experienced player and he does help out a lot of young players in the team.”

Around 1600 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s visit to Mansfield, and Kelly said that Sky Blues squad use that support as motivation.

“The fans have been fantastic and as players we’ve been disappointing in the last three games, we haven’t picked up anything. We’re disappointed in ourselves and in our performances but it’s something that we’re looking to put right because the fans have been behind us, they’ve been brilliant, they’ve been fantastic.

“The motivation is there for us players that we finish this season strongly and give ourselves the best chance of promotion.”

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