Tony Mowbray: Coventry City boss hopes to 'ignite' Sky Blues

Coventry City chairman Tim Fisher and new manager Tony Mowbray
Tony Mowbray (right) watched Tuesday night's defeat at Barnsley alongside Sky Blues chairman Tim Fisher

New Coventry City boss Tony Mowbray says he hopes to help the Sky Blues back to where they "rightfully belong".

The new City boss is charged with the task of halting the ex-Premier League side's relegation to the fourth tier of English football for the first time since 1959, but he is aiming higher.

"Sometimes, clubs need a firefighter," he told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire.

"The first job is to make us stable and stay up, but the Coventry City fans are just waiting for this club to ignite."

Inheriting a club who currently lie 20th in League One, a point clear of the danger zone, Mowbray added: "I'm very positive that we can get enough points to stay in this league.

Why the short-term contract for Tony Mowbray?
"Both Tony Mowbray and the club say it was a mutual decision over the short-term length of the contract. Chief executive Steve Waggott says they wanted a quick appointment and that this was simply the easiest way to do it. They will review it again after the final kick of the season. Terms were agreed on Monday night and Mowbray has agreed to keep the current Sky Blues backroom staff at least for the time being."Clive Eakin, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire

"But this club is hugely underachieving. Their rightful status should be lot higher. I'm here to light the touch paper and get the fans excited.

"I can help Coventry get back to where they rightfully belong, which is hopefully somewhere between the top of the Championship and the middle of the Premier League. If we can get to that point, it will hopefully have been a successful journey."

Mowbray has not made it clear why his Sky Blues deal is only until the end of the season, its short-term nature being the explanation of why he has quickly been branded a 'firefighter'. But his general demeanour and outlook is that of someone planning to stop around a lot longer.

"We need to change the feel of the club," he said. "The owners need to be given some belief that this club can go in the right direction and then the club will prosper and move forward.

"I've no real concerns on the politics of the club, as long as I'm allowed to get on with my job. I know the parameters I've got to work with. I know there's not going to be £20 million to spend. I know the budgets.

Managerial pedigree of the man they call 'Mogga'
Tony Mowbray won more games than he has lost with all the clubs he has managed - Hibernian, West Bromwich Albion, Middlesbrough and Celtic.
Even at Parkhead, where he was sacked after just nine months in charge, his Celtic side ended the season just six points behind Rangers. Mowbray still insists that his downfall was sealed by failing to get past Arsenal in the qualifying round stages of the Champions League in August 2009.

"I'm a football nut, so I'm aware of what's going on at most clubs and I was certainly aware of the issues surrounding Coventry City.

"But I've met the owners and got their call on everything. Managing up is just as important as managing the players. Mutual respect is important.

"At my last club I was stuck with players on four-year deals with big salaries. That's not the case here. It's about finding the right balance. Can I find the players? Can we give the Coventry fans a team that they want to go and watch?

"Don't expect us to suddenly be producing silky, smooth stuff, knocking it about, Don't think we can turn the confidence round to be playing fancy football within the week.

"Let's gets to the summer. Then we'd have the time to mould and create a certain style, that can get the ball down and play, and become a Tony Mowbray type of team."