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"I had a wonderful time there"

Tony Mowbray looks back fondly on his spell in charge of Coventry City ahead of this today's encounter against the Sky Blues

24 October 2020

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Tony Mowbray spent 18 months as manager of Coventry City, and despite his time as Sky Blues boss ending in frustration, admits he enjoyed his time in charge of the club.

The Rovers boss goes up against City for the second time since departing the Ricoh Arena back in September 2016.

His first return was a successful one, with Rovers earning a 3-1 win in the League Cup back in August 2017 thanks to goals from Corry Evans, Richie Smallwood and Dominic Samuel.

The same result would be just the tonic for Mowbray this weekend, and the boss speaks fondly of today's opponents when reflecting on his tenure in charge of the Sky Blues.

“We put together a pretty decent team there," Mowbray recollected to iFollow Rovers.

“Adam Armstrong got 20 goals that season (2015-16), Ryan Kent, who moved to Rangers and was playing in the Europa League the other night, we took him on loan from Liverpool.

“Jacob Murphy, who was sold to Newcastle for £12m a couple of years ago, we had him on loan from Norwich, we had James Maddison, who is an England international and ripping it up for Leicester, an amazing talent as well.

“We brought Joe Cole in, and had John Fleck, who’s currently in the Premier League with Sheffield United.

“We had a pretty amazing attacking team that could score lots of goals and were really exciting, albeit they were very young of course.

“The frontline of Armstrong, Murphy, Maddison and Kent were all just teenagers, but we scored loads and loads of goals," he reflected.

The second season in Warwickshire didn't go quite as well as Mowbray's first full term in charge, as the Rovers boss explains.

“Our main defender, Reda Johnson, a monster of a man, he ripped his groin off his hip basically in our second season, the loans had gone back and we couldn’t engage them again because there were bigger fish for them to go to," he added.

“We lost all our defenders really and I felt we had a youth team, a team of kids in that second season. We found it really hard and I think we drew seven and lost three of our first 10 games.

“I called it a day. I remember after a night game against Bristol Rovers, we just couldn’t score, we had a very young team, it was 0-0 and I remember sitting in the dressing room calmly and telling the players that I wasn’t coming back, that I was going home to see my family.

"I wished them all the very best and I look at them now, a few years down the line and the job Mark [Robins]’s done, they’ve rebuilt the club."

This afternoon will see Rovers play the Sky Blues at Birmingham City's St Andrew's, and Mowbray sympathises with supporters, with City not featuring at their Ricoh Arena home for a second successive season now.

“They’re not at the Ricoh Arena again, the season before I came they were playing at Northampton," he said.

“I had the two seasons at the Ricoh and now they find themselves playing at Birmingham City. It’s not a great scenario for them but they’re punching above their weight and doing very well.

“The Ricoh Arena is an amazing stadium, a stadium done out in sky blue seats, but they don’t own the stadium. It’s perfect for a club like Coventry that can attract 20,000 fans.

“When we were flying with Armstrong scoring every week, we were getting 20,000 supporters in for home games, and yet a year before at Northampton, they were finding themselves with 2,000 fans.

“I had a wonderful time there. It’s a nice club with passionate support and I wish them well after our game at the weekend."

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