Coventry City fans are optimistic for this week’s play-off semi-final second leg and tell Middlesbrough to ‘bring it on’ following Sunday’s goalless draw at the CBS Arena.
Wednesday night will see the Midlands-based side take on Middlesbrough once again with the season on the line – win or go home.
Supporters are optimistic and Coventry have a good record against their opponents, avoiding defeat in the last three meetings dating back to October.
Lifelong fan Ethan Layhe, 21, is encouraged by the team’s performance, especially in the second half and tells Middlesbrough to bring it on.
He said: “I’m delighted with how we played in the second half, but not managing a shot on target is frustrating, we played them off the park.
“Viktor [Gyokeres] struggled to get into the game which didn’t help our attacking output and unfortunate to lose Josh Eccles to injury – hope he’s OK for the second leg.
“I really fancy our chances at the Riverside, Carrick has Boro playing some great football – it’s gonna be a great spectacle.”
The home team failed to register a single shot on target in the 90 minutes and were held to a goalless draw by Middlesbrough.
Michael Carrick’s side showed more promise throughout the encounter despite various spells of encouragement from the Sky Blues.
The two frontmen battling against each other, Chuba Akpom and Viktor Gyokeres – the Championship’s leading goalscorers, were largely shut out of the occasion.
"We've dealt really well with two of the best strikers in the division." ⛔
Mark Robins reacts as Coventry draw 0-0 with Middlesbrough 🗞️ pic.twitter.com/8oyvqcq3rf
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) May 14, 2023
The best chance fell to the visiting striker whose right-footed effort was tame at best against goalkeeper Ben Wilson. The 30-year-old made two saves and didn’t face a significant test.
The attendance at the Coventry Building Society Arena was 28,874 on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with plenty of West Midlands sunshine.
The stakes could not be higher for Coventry, who have not played Premier League football in 22 years since relegation under Gordon Strachan in 2001.
This is without doubt the closest the club have come to promotion in the period since, but a menacing trip to Middlesbrough awaits.
Middlesbrough are bidding for promotion back to England’s top flight for the first time in six years and will hope that home advantage later this week can be enough.
Both sides have enjoyed miraculous resurgences in the table since Coventry’s 1-0 win earlier this season, when the pair found themselves in the bottom three.
Ethan’s father Andy Layhe, a season ticket holder with Coventry, can’t quite believe the progress and hopes to see his local side finish the job.
He said: “It’s been up-and-down for both of us, Boro went from 21st to fourth and we were bottom at one point, finishing fifth. You couldn’t ask for a better tie.
“It was disappointing not to get a win on our home turf but everything’s all to play for next week. We’re undefeated since early April I think, eight straight games – let’s keep it going.”
It’s been a whirlwind season for Coventry who at one point had to postpone a match because their pitch was deemed unplayable and were placed under transfer embargo.
They were handed a suspended points deduction, sat 24th in October but are now in with a chance of meeting with Premier League stars on a daily basis next season.
The dream is alive for Coventry but there is work to do for Mark Robins’ side, who will have to snatch a win on the road to set up a Wembley date against Luton or Sunderland.