Having only been edged out 3-2 by runaway leaders Fulham, Stoke boss Michael O’Neill cannot be too disheartened with losing a five-goal thriller at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Nevertheless, it also felt like a case of what could have been, particularly having got back into the contest through Lewis Baker’s equaliser in the second half.
O’Neill will be satisfied that the Potters are on an upward trajectory, however, with three strong performances with several new signings being produced since their poor efforts at the turn of the year.
Sitting six points adrift of Huddersfield Town with two matches in hand, Stoke’s fate is just about in their own hands right now, but they travel to the Terriers at the weekend.
That scenario heaps the pressure on O’Neill’s team ahead of this contest, and the Northern Irishman will be hoping that D’Margio Wright-Phillips can build on scoring his first professional goal versus the Cottagers.
Coventry also enter this contest feeling a sense of frustration, Mark Robins’s team having had the better of the game against Queens Park Rangers before succumbing to a late 2-1 defeat.
Not only did they lose to a fellow playoff rival, their disappointing run was extended to just one win in eight games, that solitary success coming at struggling Peterborough United.
Given that they have been in the top half of the table all season, the fact that no relegation battle is on the horizon is no longer deemed satisfactory, and Robins will be expected to engineer improvements over the coming weeks and months.
Coventry also no longer possess one of the best home records in the division, a consequence of losing their last three fixtures at the Ricoh Arena