Mark Robins: Coventry City manager says no pressure on Sky Blues at Wembley

Steve Ogrizovic and Mark Robins
Coventry boss Mark Robins (right) has invited goalkeeping coach Steve Ogrizovic, the Sky Blues' FA Cup final winning keeper in 1987, to lead the team out at Wembley

Coventry City boss Mark Robins says his Sky Blues side are undoubted underdogs in Sunday's EFL Trophy final against fellow League One side Oxford United.

City are bottom of the table and look likely to be relegated, but will go to Wembley on the back of two successive league victories.

Robins said "there should be no fear" for his largely young side.

"There's no pressure on us. We're underdogs in terms of league position," he told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire.

"Oxford will be well supported too. They're on an upward curve under Michael Appleton, but this is a one-off final and we've got tremendous support. There's a real excitement around the city.

"It's a different week. There's more focus and attention on the club. We've been measured up for new suits and all sorts of things, but training has had a decent intensity and, on the back of two wins, it galvanises all that spirit.

"Even though they are young, sometimes that can have a positive impact. We've got to go to Wembley to try to enjoy it, take in all the sights, the sounds and experiences.

"But people also rightly say there's only one way to enjoy it - and that's by winning."

Coventry are 11 points shy of safety with six league games left to play and are 27 points worse off than Oxford, who are eighth and just four points off a play-off place.

'Big Oggy' to lead City out at Wembley

Having only rejoined Coventry on 7 March, Robins is in the unusual position of being in charge of a side who had already made it to Wembley almost a month earlier.

With that in mind, he has stepped aside from the honour of leading the team out, and the club have asked veteran goalkeeping coach Steve Ogrizovic - the man they affectionately call 'Big Oggy' - to do it instead.

The 6ft 4in former Chesterfield and Liverpool keeper, 59, who started his working life as a police constable, has spent 33 years with the Sky Blues since joining from Shrewsbury Town in the summer of 1984.

After 507 league appearances as a player and one goal - a long clearance over Martin Hodge's head against Sheffield Wednesday on a windy day at Hillsborough in 1988 - he has since served as reserve and Academy coach, caretaker manager and now goalkeeping coach.

Coventry will be without both of his first-choice centre-backs, loan players Nathan Clarke and Farrend Rawson, who are both cup-tied.

Clarke made three appearances for Bradford City in the group stages of the competition, as did Rawson for Derby's Under-23s.

But Robins insisted: "We've got plenty of options. It's not a problem."

Meanwhile, City's technical director Mark Venus, who took charge for three months this season following Tony Mowbray's resignation, has left the club.

Top Stories