Skip to main content Skip to site footer

INTERVIEW: Mark Robins on Sunderland, injuries and remembering John Motson

The Sky Blues will take on Sunderland on Saturday afternoon (12:30pm) at the Coventry Building Society Arena...

24 February 2023


INTERVIEW: Mark Robins on Sunderland, injuries and remembering John Motson

The Sky Blues will take on Sunderland on Saturday afternoon (12:30pm) at the Coventry Building Society Arena...

24 February 2023

Sky Blues boss Mark Robins believes those who make their way to the Coventry Building Society Arena on Saturday (12:30pm) will be treated to a brilliant game of football, with both sides looking to close in on the Championship's top six.

City will welcome the Black Cats to the Midlands with a view to making it three wins on the bounce in the second tier, wins that have helped Robins and his players climb the standings.

The fixture comes on the week that football learned of the passing of legendary commentator and broadcaster John Motson (1945-2023), with Robins choosing to pay tribute to his services to the game as he addressed the media on Friday morning.

On John Motson, after learning of his sad passing on Thursday:

"John Motson was an iconic voice, wasn't he? Everybody of my age, and even those younger as he worked for a long time, grew up knowing his voice.

"He was iconic, there's no shadow of a doubt. He was a top commentator.

"I would imagine that he was somebody who all those working in the sports media industry inspired to be just like. 

"I am sure that every commentator working today will have listened to him intently, in terms of his studious nature and how he would deliver incredible stats at the perfect time. It was legendary.

WhatsApp Image 2023-02-24 at 10.36.03.jpeg

"I met him a number of times and Dean Austin, our Head of Recruitment, knew him very well.

"It was very sad to learn of that news on Thursday."

On the form of his side heading into the weekend:

"It's no surprise that when we have everybody fit we have more chance of going on a run.

"I don't think we have ever been short of confidence. I think fatigue and injuries have played a part this season, and everybody is experiencing that. If you listen to Tony Mowbray (Sunderland manager) he has just been through a period in which they have played Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday, and now they'll be playing a Saturday early kick-off.

"Everybody is talking about the same thing, rotating their squads, and that comes with its risks as well. 

"It's an interesting time. It would be brilliant to understand why injuries are occurring up and down the country, and they're not just muscular injuries. 

"It's an unpreceded season and we've had an unprecedented amount of injuries. It's difficult for us all, it really is."

On this weekend's meeting with Sunderland:

"They're above us in the table and they're not too far outside the top six. If we can get a result it lifts us closer to them, and then we're at lot closer to those top six places ourselves.

WhatsApp Image 2023-02-23 at 11.57.10.jpeg

"I think it is going to be a really good game of football tomorrow. They have got a really young squad with very few players over the age of 30. They're an incredibly talented group.

"They have improved during January by signing Joe Gelhardt but they also have Patrick Roberts and Amad Diallo, who has made a big difference. Daniel Ballard was also a very good signing.

"They play some really good football and it will be a good match tomorrow. It will be tough for both games but a good game of football."

On Tony Mowbray's opposition:

"Tony plays a really good brand of football and that is what he is known for.

"They will be backed by a massive fan base, an energetic fan base, who have their demands and he has done a fantastic job.

"I think that is what makes tomorrow's game really interesting. They play really good football, just like we try to do. We try to play and so do they. 

"I am really looking forward to it tomorrow. I think the crowd will be brilliant. It's a big game for both teams for similar reasons."

On those closing in on their injury returns:

"Ben Sheaf is about to commence his final stages of rehabilitation. He may be a week or two away from making a return.

"He will soon start running on the grass. That should come within the next 10 days, or two weeks.

WhatsApp Image 2023-02-24 at 10.38.20.jpeg

"Fankaty Dabo has trained and is training again today. He is a lot closer to returning.

"Jonathan Panzo is also a lot closer, so we'll see. We have players coming back all the time.

"We now only have Callum O'Hare and Fabio Tavares out for the long term. The rest are closing in, which is pleasing.

"We still need to train today and we have some final preparations to do, so I am not yet set in my mind which team I will start with tomorrow."

On Josh Eccles, who could make his 50th Sky Blues appearance for the Club on Saturday:

"I have mentioned before that him going out to Gillingham on loan with Steve Evans was a good thing. He came back to us with experience.

"Josh can be whatever he wants to be. I am really pleased with the way that he has come on, especially since he signed his contract.

"With injuries, he has had issues. There are many reasons for that, as I have already discussed. Josh has been no stranger to that.

WhatsApp Image 2023-02-24 at 10.39.29.jpeg

"He is a really good player and he could be in the side for years to come.

"I think he would rather be in the middle of the park but he can play anywhere, he is a really good footballer. He will settle into this environment.

"He knows the Club; he loves the Club. There is more to come from him, there is no doubt."

On Viktor Gyökeres, who could make his 100th Sky Blues appearance for the Club on Saturday:

"The players around him help him to contribute, greatly, as it is a team game and everyone has stepped up.

"The work that Viktor has done suits him. He is a superb specimen, an athlete.

"He's single-minded and a brilliant striker."

Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match Tickets Account