Terry Pierce - Boothroyd's honeymoon period comes to an end

25 January 2011 09:35
It's rare to find a fan of Aidy Boothroyd outside of the club he currently manages. A combination of his extremely direct style of play and a slight air of arrogance in front of the cameras has failed to endear him to the majority of Football League fans. But the obvious riposte to the moans and groans is his managerial record.

Currently in charge at Coventry City, Boothroyd first came onto the scene as a manager when he took over at Watford in 2005. Aged just 34, he was the youngest manager in the Championship at the time and could boast of an impressive coaching CV for someone so young thanks, in part, to his enforced retirement eight years previous.

Despite the initial scepticism surrounding his appointment, he steered Watford to Championship safety before guiding them to a play-off spot and subsequent promotion to the Premier League in his first full season as a manager. However, Boothroyd failed to keep the Hornets in the top flight before missing out on an immediate return, and he left the club.

Following a year out of the game, Boothroyd re-surfaced at the beginning of last season in Essex, taking over at Colchester United. The U's just missed out on a top six spot in League One, and Boothroyd had impressed enough to be handed the reins at another Championship side, Coventry City.And his first season at the Ricoh Arena started promisingly.

A blend of experience and youth behind a competent and combative front-line, including human battering-ram Clive Platt and imposing youngster Lucas Jutkiewicz, seemed to be doing the trick and the Sky Blues' direct and physical approach was getting results, albeit inconsistently.

And when Marlon King controversially re-joined City following his release from prison they were expected to really push on for a play-off spot, a feeling only strengthened by three consecutive wins in early winter. But somewhere along the line Boothroyd's boys have lost the formula and their ability to grind out results.

Without a victory since that hat-trick of wins, a run of eight games, City currently sit bottom of the Championship form table and questions are now being asked as to why the side is struggling so suddenly and seriously.

Has the Championship got wise to the Boothroyd approach? Have the other sides in the top half kicked on and left City trailing? Or, as Boothroyd insists, is it merely a number of unlucky factors - from the fixture list and injuries to refereeing decisions - and that the current crisis is, in fact, far from a major concern.

Either way, the goals and points have dried up. They've scored just four times in the last eight league games, confidence is low and they're plummeting down the league. And now Boothroyd needs to silence his critics once more by turning around a misfiring and unhappy squad of players and guiding them to a top-half finish.

A quick browse at the fixture list suggests the troubles could go on for another couple of weeks. Tricky trips to Leeds, Burnley and Leicester sit alongside visits from promotion-chasing Nottingham Forest and Swansea during February, with a home tie against Crystal Palace making up next month's programme.

With their current form, a serious lack of creativity and goals and a daunting run of fixtures, Sky Blues fans could well be nervously looking over their shoulders come the end of February. And the match against the Eagles could take on surprising significance in the bottom third of the Championship.

Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce

Source: DSG

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