New boy joins 'caravan club'!

MICKY Adams' first task as Coventry City manager was saving the club from relegation.

Having taken charge of Sheffield United, he hopes tomorrow's return to the Midlands will prove the catalyst for a similar revival.

With Stephen Quinn, Richard Cresswell, Mark Yeates and Matthew Lowton all poised to return to his squad, Adams yesterday bolstered his options still further by signing West Bromwich Albion's Joe Mattock on loan before also capturing Aston Villa's Shane Lowry."

Family ties helped accelerate Mattock's arrival - his grandad, Terry, has a caravan at Mablethorpe on the same site as a friend of Adams' late father.

But, as the 49-year-old explained, the move makes sound footballing sense.

"Joe's got good credentials," said Adams. "And the most important thing is he is desperate to play.

"There are a lot of older experienced players out there but he fits in with my policy which is to try and freshen things up by bringing people in with ability and an vibrancy about them."

Honest and forthright, Adams has made no attempt to disguise the magnitude of the challenge facing both himself and assistant Alan Cork.

But, with him having been appointed as Gary Speed's permanent successor only last month, opportunities to undertake any serious work at United's Shirecliffe training complex have been few and far between.

A combination of bad weather and a congested fixture schedule means changes so far have been largely cosmetic.

The free week since last weekend's FA Cup tie with Aston Villa has enabled Adams to begin the process of making more substantial alterations - both on and off the pitch - as United continue exploratory talks with a number of other potential transfer targets.

"Joe was in the system when I managed Leicester and of course I spoke to the people there who I trust," said Adams.

"He did well there and got a good move to West Brom where he helped them get promoted and then got unlucky with an injury.

"They brought in a couple of other left-backs in the meantime and he went down the pecking order a bit but he's fine now.

"Joe is naturally left-footed and, looking at the balance of what we've got here, that's an area where I felt we were lacking."

Coventry, who triumphed 1-0 at Bramall Lane three months ago, are obstinate but not unbeatable opposition.Aidy Boothroyd's first 28 matches at the helm have seen them embrace the no-frills approach which served the former Watford chief so well at Vicarage Road and climb to 11th in the Championship table as a result.

But Preston, Cardiff, Leeds, Norwich and QPR have all triumphed at the Ricoh Arena this term.

United, who are just a point above the relegation zone in 21st, hope to follow in their footsteps.

"The table didn't really matter to me with regards to coming here," Mattock, an England under-21 international, said.

"This is a big club with some great players, especially for this division.

"From what I've heard, we've dominated some games and been a bit unlucky.

"I'm looking forward to helping the club in any way I possibly can.

"I didn't speak to the gaffer much when I was a kid at Leicester but he seems a really good guy, a good manager.

"I've enjoyed my first training session with him so I'm raring to go."

Colin Webster: The Tyne and Wear official, who boasts a number of play-off final and semi-final appearances on his CV, will be taking charge of his second Sheffield United fixture this season. Booked Stephen Jordan and Mark Yeates during October's defeat by Watford. But Webster has not overseen a fixture involving Coventry City since they were beaten at West Brom in March.

The Ricoh Arena has not exactly been a fortress for City this season. They have won six, lost five and drawn two of their 13 matches there so far, scoring 18 goals and conceding 15 in the process. United's last away success came at Millwall in November.

MATCHFACTS

The teams: COVENTRY CITY (possible): Westwood, Keogh, Cranie, Wood, O'Halloran, Carsley, Gunnarsson, Doyle, McSheffrey, Eastwood, Jutkiewicz (4-4-2).

SHEFFIELD UNITED (possible): Simonsen, Kozluk, Bartley, Ertl, Parrino, Williamson, Britton, Montgomery, Ward, Bogdanovic, Evans (4-4-2).

The referee: Colin Webster: The Tyne and Wear official, who boasts a number of play-off final and semi-final appearances on his CV, will be taking charge of his second Sheffield United fixture this season. Booked Stephen Jordan and Mark Yeates during October's defeat by Watford. But Webster has not overseen a fixture involving Coventry City since they were beaten at West Brom in March.

Tale of the tape: The Ricoh Arena has not exactly been a fortress for City this season. They have won six, lost five and drawn two of their 13 matches there so far, scoring 18 goals and conceding 15 in the process. United's last away success came at Millwall in November.

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