TALKING TACTICS: Coventry (A) – Sunderland hamstrung by two first half injuries; a point gained?

TALKING TACTICS: Coventry (A) - Sunderland hamstrung by two first half injuries; a point gained?

These are the Coventry City changes Mark Robins is considering against Portsmouth

But many were shocked at ugly scenes outside the ground, as visiting fans headed back to their coaches.

Coventry yobs were reportedly trying to break through metal barriers which were meant to keep rivals fans apart.

Jack Ross reserves special praise for red-hot summer signing

And police and stewards are shown doing their best to keep two large groups of fans apart on a hill overlooking the coach park.

There were reports of Coventry fans gathering stones and pelting them at the Sunderland coaches, with one suffering a broken window.

One 42-year-old supporter from Houghton, who did not want to be named, said: “Ive followed Sunderland away for number of years and have never witnessed mob violence like this.

“They announced over the loud speaker that our coaches had been moved to car park B, but nobody knew where that was, so there was a lot of confusion.

“Needless to say, all the Coventry fans heard that announcement too, and our coach turned out to be right next to the railway line, and also an alleyway which they used to walk through.

“Myself and my daughter came out of the ground late after retrieving our flag and were met with a mob of Coventry yobs which had not been moved on by police.

“Running battles ensued, with violence all over the car and bus park. It was just carnage – Ive never seen anything like it at any away game.

“We eventually found our bus, directly opposite the majority of Coventry fans who had gathered bricks from the train lines and pelted our supporters and buses.

“They were picking up bricks and debris from the railway line and throwing them at people. They could have killed someone.

“No arrests were made during this unbelievable act of violence. We watched from our bus as supporters were targeted.

“Even when we got back on the coach you could hear the bricks thudding off the side of it. Is this a sign of things to come in the lower leagues?”

Jack Ross was left indebted to one of his Scottish summer signings after his side drew 1-1 with Coventry at the Ricoh Arena.

Keeper Jon McLaughlin pulled off a tremendous late save from Conor Chaplin, allowing his defenders to then clear and preserve a point. After a season of goalkeeping misery in the Championship, Sunderland fans finally have someone solid they can depend on in goal.

The 31-year old arrived from Heart of Midlothian in the summer and Ross was quick to pour praise on his match-saving hero, as the Sunderland Echo reports.

“In that last period the game was very end-to-end and our keeper made two or three outstanding saves in that period.”

Of McLaughlin’s overall form, Ross was keen to reiterate how much he coveted the keeper in the summer and obviously, how delighted he has been with the return.

“I dont want to downplay it and say it was just what I expected – but it is! He is one of the early ones that I identified and fought quite hard for him to come, not because I wasnt supported, but because of where we were as a club at that time.”

The Edinburgh-born stopper started out with Harrogate Town before playing almost 300 games in England, predominately in League Two with Bradford City, but also for Burton as they achieved successive promotions.

After time with Bradford and Burton Albion, McLaughlin knows the English game well, but he’s still settled very quickly in the north east.

His former club are currently top of the Scottish Premier League and hoping to mount a title challenge, but if he helps get Sunderland promoted it will be a massive achievement in itself.

Coventry at web:


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