Sky Blues boss Chris Coleman vowed to show his one-time Swansea school-boy pal Simon Davey 'no mercy' tonight as the Sky Blues prepared to play their part in Norwich's desperate fight to avoid the drop.
For should the Reds win at the Ricoh tonight, it would leave Simon Davey's men four points clear of the Canaries with just two games to go.
Take just a point from their home clash with title-hopefuls Wolves at Oakwell on Saturday and the Canaries would be getting close to needing snookers if they are to avoid a trip to Yeovil next season.
Which is why all eyes will be on Coventry tonight as the Norfolk side keep their fingers tightly crossed that boss Coleman stays true to his word and puts aside a 30-year friendship with his opposite number and walks the walk as well as the Welshman always talks the talk.
“We played in the Swansea schoolboys side together and he was a very good player,” Coleman told the Daily Mirror this morning, as his long-time connection to the under-fire Barnsley boss came to light.
“We came through together and his wife, Emma, went to my school,” he added, clearly as well versed as anyone in Norfolk as to what tonight's result would mean at the very foot of the Championship table.
“Barnsley will be coming here going for at least a point, and if they pinch a win it will put them in a very strong position,” he said.
Coventry, by contrast, have very little play for and have already played their part in the unfolding drama at the bottom of the table with that 1-0 defeat at City's relegation rivals Nottingham Forest last Saturday.
In fairness, one or two commentators noted how well the Sky Blues played in that opening 45 minutes; little sign there, they claimed, of the Midlands side having already packed their bags for the beach this summer.
Coleman insisted that they, too, had everything to play for; that there would be no feet slipping off the gas under his watchful eye.
“This is an important game for Coventry, too. We've got to end our poor run before the end of the season,” he said, making his 'No mercy!' vow.
“I've told my players, when we were down at the bottom fighting last year, nobody showed us any mercy – and we should be the same. Finishing the season well is all I care about now.”
Fresh from prising that potentially priceless point out of Reading at the weekend, Davey knows that tonight is the night that Barnsley have to make that 'game in hand' advantage count.
Playing host to Wolves won't be easy on Saturday; Mick McCarthy's men may yet fancy securing the Championship title itself at Oakwell having already won their ticket back to the big time.
“We're going to Coventry looking for a win, hopefully we can come away with full points,” Davey told the Sheffield Star today.
Having gone out all 4-5-1 at Reading, the choice now was whether or not to tinker with the formation. He has no fresh injury worries ahead of this evening's crucial game.
“You have to look at their personnel because they play differently to Reading, but if we get a win that will see us go four points ahead of Norwich. That would put us in a strong position because it would mean Norwich would have to get points from their last two matches.”
Jamaican Jamal Campbell-Ryce would be the one to return to the starting line-up if Davey decides to go 4-4-2.
Daniel Bogdanovic would then partner Jon Macken up front. Maltese international striker Michael Mifsud is, however, barred from playing tonight because he is on loan from Coventry – a ruling that will, likewise, rule out David Mooney from playing in Monday night's Carrow Road clash with his full-time employers, Reading.
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