The Necessity of Pace

Posted by on Apr 5, 2010 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The clear cut advantage enjoyed by the play off contenders, Forest, Cardiff, Swansea and Leicester is lending a grazing season feel to midtable as we go into April. One club whose future among us is secure for another campaign is Coventry City. Sides have gone down having amassed 52 points, but there are too many pavement dwellers below the Sky Blues for them to properly worry about being forcibly rehoused. Chris Coleman’s unnaturally lengthy half time cuppa told a story today though: it was an abysmal 45 from the Warwickshire club.

True, Jimmy Kà©bà© and Jobi McAnuff were utterly rampant for their vanquishers Reading, but therein lies the main issue. City lined up across the midfield with as slow a quartet as you’ll see, a central section that seemed dazed and unable to cope with Reading’s first whistle reversion to a bog standard 4-4-2.

Chris Coleman could be seen in the dug out, in hurried conversation for most of the half, clearly unprepared for this simple tactical switch on Brian McDermott’s part. David Bell and Aron Gunnarsson are gutsy players but decidedly lacking in fleet footedness; Sammy Clingan and Gary Deegan are scrappers at best, unable to move up through the gears.

Behind them, James McPake is uncomplicated and Martin Cranie quietened Kebe considerably when he came on at left back but Stephen Wright would have needed a motorbike to catch up with McAnuff, and the wreckage of Leon Barnett’s career is still cast into painful relief. A reputation as the lower leagues’ Titus Bramble is beginning to stick: a man with all the equipment to be a good player but one so dreadfully error prone that the mistakes seem ever around the corner. It seemed harsh of Coleman to heap the blame on young Chris Hussey by hauling him off at half time, but this early graduate of the AFC Wimbledon academy was served up on toast by his Malian tormentor.

It’s not Cov’s fault that they lost Leon Best midseason, impressive as he was for Newcastle at Peterborough on Saturday, but pace will need to be a priority for Coleman moving through the Summer – and that doesn’t mean a reliance on the ageing legs of Clinton Morrison nor a Freddie Sears lacking in confidence. A topsy-turviness has marred the Sky Blue’s last twelve months and although their current position is vaguely encouraging given the talent at their disposal, they will need to strengthen – strengthen considerably.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 50 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.


  1. mirkobolesan
    April 5, 2010

    It's interesting you mention pace as the current top scorer in the Championship is Peter Whittingham.

    He's the most languid and slow midfielder I've ever seen play for Cardiff City yet his scoring record is incredible.

    Still, on the other wing we have Chris Burke who is incredibly quick. An old fashioned right winger, he appears to come from a different age. He is one of the few Cardiff City players who I think could do a good job in the top flight.

  2. Lanterne Rouge
    April 6, 2010

    Burke is certainly quality and I'll be at Cardiff next saturday to see him once again for myself. I came in half way through the Forest game yesterday though and he wasn't playing. Is he injured?

  3. Lloyd
    April 6, 2010

    Burke's out injured, but I don't think it's serious. Good chance he'll be out to put an end once and for all to Reading's play-off ambitions this Saturday.


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