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INTERVIEW: Liam Kelly Sunderland Preview

The skipper expects a tough test against the Black Cats on Sunday...

28 February 2020

Liam Kelly believes the Sky Blues “have nothing to lose” when they take on Sunderland in Sky Bet League One in front of the Sky Sports cameras at midday on Sunday.

The midfielder acknowledged that there is a long way to go until the end of the season and expects there to be plenty of twist and turns along the way.

Kelly is fully focused ahead of this weekend’s game and is expecting a difficult match against an in-form Sunderland side.

Kelly said: “I’ve been down at the bottom of the table a few times in my career and the pressure down at the bottom is completely different to the pressure at the top.

“This is where you want to be, things are going well, the league position is good, it’s a lot better than being down at the other end of the table because there’s a lot more to lose and we’ve only got things to gain.

“We’ve got nothing to lose, just things to gain this season, it’s a fantastic position to be in and it’s credit to everyone’s hard work so far this season.

“Nothing is done or completed yet, we’ve got a hell of a long way to go and there’s going to be a lot more twist and turns before the end of the season so all we can do is just keep concentrating on the game in front of us which is Sunderland this Sunday and it’s going to be a difficult game.”

The Black Cats have suffered just one defeat in their last 15 league matches and Kelly is fully aware of the recent form shown by Phil Parkinson’s side.

He also felt the Sky Blues were unlucky not to come away from the Stadium of Light with all three points back in November and credits the team for improving their form on the road since the turn of the year.

“They’re a team that has picked up a lot of form, they’ve looked really strong in recent weeks, but we were unlucky not to get the win against them first time around, conceding a late equaliser.

“When we play our game and play to our strengths, we’re confident we can take a result from any game and it’s not going to be any different this Sunday.

“Since the turn of the year we’ve picked up points away from home and we’ve not conceded as many late goals as we did earlier in the season and that’s been a massive part of our recent form.

“It’s full credit throughout to the whole team, especially the back three who are incredibly strong players and good in the air and good with the ball at their feet as well.”

After drawing with table toppers Rotherham United in midweek, Kelly also feels the Sky Blues have nothing to fear as they head into another big game this weekend.

He also praised the Sky Blues faithful for their support on Tuesday night and hopes to create more occasions like that for the fans as the season draws to a close.

“People looking from the outside in may be a bit surprised at where we are, but from the early days in pre-season we saw what squad we had and we knew what we were capable of.

“There’s a lot of talented players in this squad and we’ve played everyone now, we fully expect to be up there challenging because of the talent that we’ve got and the characteristics of some of the personalities in this team.

“Rotherham are incredibly effective at what they do, there’s a few teams like that in this league, you only have to look at Wycombe, teams that are big, physical and direct and it’s effective and sometimes it’s hard to deal with and hard to play against.

“Throughout playing everyone this season there’s nothing to fear and we’re going into every game with the firm belief that we could and we should be winning.

“We want more occasions like that, you only have to look at the FA Cup draw when we played Birmingham, the atmosphere that was created was fantastic for the players and we want to create more night’s and weekend’s like that.

“We had a really strong second half and the atmosphere really got behind us and we were unlucky not to go on and get the win.”

With 12 league games remaining for the Sky Blues this season, Kelly insists taking it one game at a time is key to helping the club achieve their targets this season.

“We know what we want to achieve this season, there’s no doubt about it, we want to get promoted.

“I don’t think you can start looking at games in chunks and blocks because you have to deal with the game in front of you first and foremost.

“If we just break it down, week by week, and just target the next game and try and get as many points as we can from every single match, that’s going to be the key to putting ourselves where we need to be.”


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