Sky Blues face leaders Leyton Orient tonight
22 October ~ Ahead of this evening's game against Leyton Orient, Coventry City are in a state of flux. After the summer's bitter, drawn out administration process, supporters are slowly coming to terms with the traumatic move to Northampton's Sixfields Stadium, the majority remain committed to boycotting "home" games and a consensus is yet to be reached on how to tackle the situation. A confrontation after the 2-0 home defeat against Brentford highlighted divisions within the fanbase, which have been compounded by the emergence of two separate protest groups.
A growing number of fans are simply fatigued and disillusioned by the situation. The complexity of the Ricoh rent dispute and subsequent administration has made it difficult for supporters to determine who should be targeted, and what methods should be employed in order to secure a return to the city of Coventry.
Meanwhile, the team has made a confident start to the season in testing circumstances. The sparsely populated Sixfields has been turned into something of a fortress, and a points tally of 21 would be worthy of a play-off place if not for a ten-point deduction. The front pairing of Leon Clarke and Callum Wilson have proved themselves among the most potent in the division, equalled in goalscoring terms only by Orient's Kevin Lisbie and Dave Mooney.
Former Rangers midfielder John Fleck has been outstanding in midfield, facilitating manager Steven Pressley's slick passing game. The offensive unit's efficiency has been undermined only by the back four's predilection for shipping goals softly; 5-4 and 3-2 home victories against Bristol City and Sheffield United respectively were slightly too close for comfort.
And this is where unbeaten League One leaders Leyton Orient are likely to capitalise. City may have kept a clean sheet when the teams recently met in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, but Orient's 4-0 victory at Prenton Park on Saturday does not bode well for a shaky defence, lacking the injured Cyrus Christie. A tendency to undo strong first-half performances with lacklustre second-half ones will weigh on Pressley's mind – although a late fightback against Wolves should breed confidence.
The future remains uncertain for Coventry, but the early season performances of a youthful, hungry team, masterminded by a similarly young, forward-thinking manager are providing a welcome antidote to other woes. Inflicting Orient's first league defeat of the season would be a deserved reward for their achievements so far. While political debate rages on fan forums and blogs, it's reassuring to know that a potentially catastrophic relegation to League Two is looking increasingly unlikely. Tom Furnival-Adams