City suffering from goal shortage
COVENTRY City, with former Colchester striker Wayne Andrews on the comeback trail, have the firepower to mount a promotion push this season.A strike-force department boasting the likes of Andrews, Leon McKenzie, Dele Adebola, Stern John and Don Hutchison, should be enough to score a glut of goals in the Championship.
By Carl Marston
COVENTRY City, with former Colchester striker Wayne Andrews on the comeback trail, have the firepower to mount a promotion push this season.
A strike-force department boasting the likes of Andrews, Leon McKenzie, Dele Adebola, Stern John and Don Hutchison, should be enough to score a glut of goals in the Championship.
And yet the Sky Blues go into tonight's game trailing Colchester by a point, due primarily to a lack of goals! They have only mustered 11 goals in 12 league fixtures, hardly promotion form.
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Ex-U's hot shot Andrews could make his Coventry debut tonight, after struggling to overcome a knee injury since his summer move from Crystal Palace.
The 28-year-old enjoyed 90 minutes of action for Coventry Reserves last week, so he has a chance of at least being named amongst the substitutes this evening.
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Andrews was a revelation at Layer Road. Playing alongside attackers of the calibre of Craig Fagan, Rowan Vine and Scott McGleish, the razor-sharp Andrews netted 16 goals during the 2003-04 campaign.
He moved on to Crystal Palace inside the first month of the following season, but never had much of a chance to make a mark at Selhurst Park - 28 of his 33 league appearances were as a substitute.
In fact, Londoner Andrews scored just one goal for Palace - against his current club Coventry a year ago.
Sky Blues boss Micky Adams has a number of other attacking options, all with bags of experience.
Adebola is a handful for most opposing defences. The Nigerian missed only two games last season, netting 12 goals in the process. Back in 1998, Birmingham City splashed out £1m to recruit the big striker from Crewe.
Having forced his way into the side against Southend, Adebola marked his first start in two months with the winner in a 3-2 success at Roots Hall on October 13.
He played alongside McKenzie against the Shrimpers, and that was also the partnership which started Coventry's last game, a 1-0 defeat at Wolves last Tuesday evening. Wanderers' winner came via an Elliott Ward own goal.
McKenzie was a regular marksman for his previous two clubs, Peterborough United and Norwich. Ironically, like Andrews and Adebola, he also had a spell at Crystal Palace (at the start of his career).
The 28-year-old scored 59 goals in 118 first-team outings for Posh, which averages out at exactly one goal every two games, an impressive ratio. Norwich paid £325,000 for his services, to bolster their chances of promotion to the Premiership, just before Christmas, 2003.
McKenzie had his injury problems at Carrow Road, but still scored 21 goals for the Norfolk club before switching to Coventry on transfer deadline day this August. A clause in his contract prevents him from playing against Norwich this term.
John and Hutchison were both on the bench at Molineux, an experienced duo to call on in a crisis. Trindad & Tobago international John, who earlier in his career moved from American side Columbus Crew to Nottingham Forest for £1.5m, signed for the Sky Blues from Birmingham for £200,000 in 2004.
Veteran attacker Hutchison, meanwhile, is currently at his eighth club, having previously played for both Merseyside clubs, Liverpool and Everton. The 35-year-old made 26 appearances for Scotland, and can operate both in midfield and up front.
Although he has a number of attacking alternatives, Adams is suffering from a dearth of full-backs. Marcus Hall (damaged knee ligaments) and David McMamee (torn hamstring) are both out injured, and an attempt to recruit Portsmouth full-back Richard Duffy on loan was scuppered by the Welshman incurring an injury while playing for Pompey reserves last week.
However, in addition to Andrews, long-term absentees Mikkel Bischoff and Stuart Giddings also played for the Reserves last week, so are available for selection again. Danish centre-half Bischoff is yet to play this season because of an ankle problem, while 20-year-old left-back Giddings is also waiting to make his first appearance of the campaign due to a hamstring injury.