Momentum is again a topic which is close to the manager’s heart. His board in the corner now features a new set of consistency-related questions and the first, ‘what gets it’ appears to have been answered in the last 15 minutes of the Watford match. The Sky Blues, despite all their opponents’ play, managed to achieve the same number of shots on target as the Hornets and Boothroyd points to the fact that something like this bodes well for a good finish: “It gives us the momentum, we can finish on a high.” The boss also ends up solving the second question ‘what keeps it,’ when he reveals his post match reaction: “I try not to get too excited when we win, and when we draw or we don’t win it is the same, but I do think that you’ve got to analyse it and make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes. We debrief the game afterwards and once we’ve gone through that debrief, we start looking forward to the next game.”
Derby have been talking up their chances at the Ricoh, and the Coventry boss concedes that the game will be a tough challenge. “They’ve got a lot of threats. They’ve got experience and some know-how in Robbie Savage, they’ve got a terrific Championship forward in Rob Hulse, Luke Varney has got pace and they’ve got a good goalkeeper in Stephen Bywater,” he states. Although, the Rams were beaten comprehensively by Cardiff City at the weekend, Boothroyd insists he will not be taking them lightly: “They’re a team that can beat anybody home and away on their day as they proved by going up and beating Leeds. It’s a Midlands derby, I’m really looking forward to it and it’s on the television, of course.”
The Rams’ Shaun Barker suggested earlier in the week that they are confident about the game, having won two, and drawn one, of the last three games in Coventry. Boothroyd, however, is quick to point out this is a new year: “The past has to be respected but it is about the here and now and the future really,” he replies on the question of previous results. “Shaun is a new player in Derby’s team and he’s done very well to get into the side. You’ve got to talk up your chances, they aren’t coming here to lose, they’re coming here to try and win, and obviously we want to win too.”
Rob Hulse, who the Yorkshire man worked with at Leeds, scored a brace against the Sky Blues last season and whilst Boothroyd singles him out as one to watch, saying: “He still is a good Championship player, he scores goals, he makes goals, he’s wholehearted and he’s a very strong Championship player,” he is also quick to issue a warning to Derby that they will have a tough time dealing with Coventry’s strike force too.
Perhaps at the root of the manager’s sterner manner is a burning desire for his team to be treated with respect and fear. Throughout the conference, he reiterates the message that the Midlanders are: “A different team now,” and declares: “We’re going to become a different club. We want to be a winning team.” After 10 years of underachievement, Coventry have come to be seen by many as one of the unimportant Championship sides, one which almost just plods along each season, not making any impact or progress. This is not the Aidy Boothroyd way, and having already added a stamp of respectability to the team with two strong early performances, he is also keen to professionalize other areas of the club.
This explains the huge wooden wall he has put up to keep training sessions private. It is a decision that has been met with great disappointment from a number of fans who enjoyed coming to watch their idols train but Aidy is adamant he made the right choice. Taken back by the fact that his move is even been questioned, he replies bluntly, when asked if there was a real reason for this: “Yes, it [training] is private. I wouldn’t come down and knock on your door and sit in your house without asking you. I like to be able to do things and be comfortable without seeing things on websites and goodness knows what else.”
Whilst his tone may be cutting when it comes to this issue, it is clear that he is acting with the best interests of the club at heart. “What we do in here is performing,” he continues. “The players are getting used to me and the last thing we need is to have anybody’s egos prickled because people are there watching and I have to shout. I don’t want to do that, it’s private.”
“I don’t think Liverpool and Manchester United have everybody in,” he concludes, reminding everyone that if Coventry want to be lining up at Anfield or Old Trafford, one day in the near future, they should really start following their methods. Coming from someone who has already achieved that feat with Watford, one gets the feeling that his cruel-to-be-kind approach on issues like this is probably the right call.