Apr 282015
 

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Coventry City’s preparations for Sunday’s crucial last day relegation battle have suffered a blow with the news that Matty Pennington has been ruled out with a serious ankle injury.

The impressive Everton defender has been forced to return to Goodison Park for treatment, opening the door for Aaron Martin to return to the starting line-up against a desperate Crawley Town who have to win to stay up, while City require a point to guarantee their place in League One.

“I have spoken to Matty, and Joe Royle at Everton, and he’s got quite bad ankle ligament damage,” said manager Tony Mowbray, who has challenged Martin to step up to the plate for the final match of the season.

“He had a scan at Everton on Monday which showed the damage and he’s stayed up there, although he’s going to try to come to the game on Sunday.

“It’s a blow for him and us. It would normally keep him out for several weeks but he’s fortunate that the summer is here for him and hopefully he’ll be ready for pre-season.”

Mowbray said the 20-year-old twisted his standing left ankle after receiving a short pass back, forcing him into a block tackle and resulting in him unable to put his foot down.

And the City boss is hoping his replacement, Martin, will put in the sort of “man mountain” display he raved about at Peterborough and grab his opportunity back in the team after making way for Reda Johnson four games ago.

Matthew Pennington with Coventry

25

Appearances

9

Clean sheets

“Aaron has played in games where we’ve not lost away from home; in fact just about all of them apart from the last one at Bristol so he knows the expectation and what’s required,” said the manager.

“He understands he has to step up and do a job and I have every faith in him that he will, and the positive thing for him is he’s coming in on the right-hand side which is his more natural side.

“It’s about getting the basics right and then your game falls into place. Aaron has to become more dominant aerially. I built a career for 20-odd years on winning headers and being dominant. I used to head everything back and then the perception is you are pretty good at what you do.

“The rest becomes easy. If someone moves the ball back you pass it to your full-back or play it into the striker. No-one expects more of you as a centre-half – win your headers, be dominant, physical and powerful.

“They have to do their job, keep the ball out of the net. Pass it as simple as you can, pass it to your midfield player or full-back. Go back to your goalie if you have to but it’s not a difficult job.

“Just be a man and Aaron has to step up and do it and he’s got the message loud and clear.

“He found himself out of the team because Reda can do those basics and Pennington had shown a real level of consistency so Aaron was the one who came out. Now he’s got another opportunity. He’ll be a little bit disappointed at being left out but he has to come back and show us how much it means to him.

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