COVENTRY City are just two games away from a return to Wembley after making the play-offs for the first time in their history.
Manager Mark Robins referred to that achievement, as some fans and commentators rather negatively argued nothing had yet been achieved to justify a celebratory pitch invasion last week after a moan-inducing 0-0 draw at home to Morecambe had meant the job was done – as if fans should somehow not celebrate quarter-final or semi-final victories.
The Sky Blues finished in sixth place and now face Notts County in the two-leg League Two play-off semi-final, starting on Saturday night at the Ricoh, with the return fixture the following Friday.
The two sides faced each other recently at Meadow Lane, Nottingham, in a tense and tough fixture when there was nothing between the two sides – Notts County nicking it with a late goal resulting from City defensive errors.
Robins is hoping his players “learn and move forward” from such recent experiences in League games, when some excellent wins and attacking displays have been followed by inconsistency and two poor defensive performances at home to Yeovil (2-6) and play-off rivals Lincoln City (2-4).
Last week’s draw followed a 6-1 win at Cheltenham since when the introduction of Tom Davies and Chris Stokes appears to have helped shore up the defence.
Robins said after the Morecambe game: “It was a rubbish game but in all fairness, it was what we expected.
“We are pleased that we managed to do it. I am happy for the players because they are the first group of Coventry players to ever finish inside the play-off places of any division. So there’s a step in the right direction.
“Now we have to learn from the experience going forward. The young players in the team have got to take this in their stride now going forward.”
Of the Notts County tie, he said: “We have just had the experience of a defeat at their place and of course we won the first game of the season here.
“The play-offs are always different though, and it is about how you handle the pressure of that.”
He added: “This is a great experience for everybody. We need to make sure that we learn from it and we do all we can to get to Wembley. We are just two games away from that.
“The fans were brilliant again. We are so grateful of that. We were looking for a bit more courage from one or two of our players to go for the win but we were just a little too conservative. There was a lot at stake.
“We have done what we needed to do and we are through to the play-offs.”