Coventry City’s unbeaten run in all competitions extended to eight matches last Saturday, with the Sky Blues hitting League One promotion chasers Oxford United for six at the CBS Arena, sealing a fourth-round tie with relegation-threatened Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup.
Mark Robins’s men were three goals ahead against the third-tier U’s after just 17 minutes of the contest – with the pick of the trio being Kasey Palmer’s sensational long-range strike – while substitute Matt Godden added a quickfire brace in the second period, although the 32-year-old’s celebrations were rather muted as he struggles for game time.
The Sky Blues kicked off the New Year in brilliant fashion at the Riverside Stadium on January 1, with a brace from Tatsuhiro Sakamoto and Haji Wright’s eighth of the league term securing a 3-1 win at Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough, who recently defeated big spenders Chelsea in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.
A record of one loss in the last 11 Championship matches has allowed Coventry to climb into eighth position in the second-tier standings, sitting just three points behind Michael Beale’s Sunderland in sixth and only five points away from West Bromwich Albion in fifth.
Coventry’s serious upturn in form has coincided with the return of playmaker Callum O’Hare from a long-term injury, with Sky Blues supporters calling for club owner Doug King to sort out the 25-year-old’s contract situation, as the former Aston Villa man could leave for nothing in the summer.
Leicester City’s march towards the Championship crown showed no signs of slowing down over the festive period, as the Foxes collected 22 points out of a possible 24 from their eight second-tier matches between December 2 and New Year’s Day, smashing
strugglers Huddersfield Town 4-1 last time out in the league.After patiently waiting for his opportunity to shine in the East Midlands, summer signing Tom Cannon bagged a brilliant brace in the victory over Darren Moore’s Terriers, with right-back sensation Ricardo Pereira and Stephy Mavididi also getting on the scoresheet at the King Power Stadium.
Maresca rotated heavily for his side’s FA Cup third-round clash at divisional rivals Millwall last weekend, with young centre-back Ben Nelson playing alongside former England international Conor Coady, but the visitors were still able to book their place in the fourth round with a 3-2 success at The Den.
As Ipswich Town begin to stutter and look set to be caught by Russell Martin’s Southampton in the top-two race, Leicester are competing with themselves at the very top of the division, with the Foxes currently 13 points ahead of the third-placed Saints after winning 21 of their first 26 league contests.
Despite being on course for a record-breaking campaign in the Championship, Maresca is keen to improve his squad during the January transfer window, and after the likes of Cesare Casadei and Yunus Akgun have struggled in midfield, the Italian is reportedly looking to recruit compatriot Stefano Sensi from Inter Milan.