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INTERVIEW: Mark Robins on pre-season so far and the season ahead

17 July 2020

Manager Mark Robins has spoken about excitement at Coventry City, as the Club looks ahead to the 2020/21 SkyBet Championship campaign.

Having returned to the second tier of English football for the first time since 2012 after the League One title win, the Sky Blues squad assembled for the first time earlier this week.

Robins said the current squad have returned in good condition, indicated that fans should expect more new arrivals before the season begins and said that the first focus is staying in the division.

“The players have come back in and are in good condition,” Robins said. “We’re not trying to kill them in training,” he added.

 “We’re trying to get people in as early as we can to work and there will be more players coming in over the period.

“It’s exciting. We’re working towards a Championship season, that we haven’t had since 2012, and it’s not before time for this Club. Clearly we want to try now and maintain our status. Next season is really about staying in the Championship if we possibility can do.”

While new additions Callum O’Hare and Marcel Hilssner joined this week and are expected to being training very soon, earlier Gustavo Hamer and Julien Dacosta have both been on the grass at Ryton already.

“They’ve gone in very well”, Robins said. “Gustavo trained for the first time on Wednesday, Julien’s been in all week and trained three times. It’s gone really well.

“It’s just easing them back in and getting the movements right. First few days they’ve moved OK, you can see that they’re good players and I think they both certainly improve us that’s for sure. Whether it’s strength in depth or outstanding individuals – it’s down to individuals. You try to put a squad together and then they compete, but the lads that have come in know there is a step up coming, so they are working hard.

“I’m really pleased – mentally they are in a good place, they’ve come in and are really working hard at what we’re doing. The fundamental change will be when we start phase two and it’s going to be interesting to see how things evolve and develop, but there’s going to be more players and it will add competition for places and it’s going to increase that intensity and desire to be in the team on a regular basis.”

With parachute payments for relegated and recently-relegated Premier League teams, the financial leap from League One to the Championship is huge – but it is not something that will daunt the Sky Blues and Robins.

“Before Wycombe got promoted, we knew we were going to be the bottom budget – we may be alongside them or we may be second bottom budget,” Robins explained.

“For us, we know in terms of finances, it will be difficult – we can’t compete financially, we’re not trying to compete, but what we’re trying to do is be the best version of us and keep building.”

Coventry City have yet to be able to confirm where home games will be played next season, but Robins is focusing on the matters on-the-field.

“Clearly there’s still some uncertainty around where we may be playing, but let’s worry about that later on down the line,” he said.

“We proved last season with a good surface and a good environment, we flourished and thrived so there’s nothing to be frightened of.

“Whatever happens, it is what it is and we’ll wait and see. It’s just a different set of circumstances and we’ve been there and felt it, so it’s different to last season’s situation.

“For us it’s about concentrating on building a squad, getting them fit and getting them ready to start the season.”


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