Coventry City are back in the Championship after a strong title winning campaign. The club won the EFL League One by five points and after a strenuous celebration party, they will now be looking ahead to their Championship campaign.
Mark Robins has added to his squad to prepare for the new season and will be hoping he can keep the club in the league.
The previous season
There wasn't much wrong with Coventry's season, they won 18 of their 34 league games, drawing 13 and losing three. Robins' side also topped the table for fewest goals conceded, conceding 30. Another positive is the 1.97 points-per-game average they had.
Matt Godden scored 14 league goals last season and was the clubs top scorer. The most appearances in all competitions were made by 22-year-old Jordan Shipley, who was an essential part to the success of Coventry thanks to his seven goals and six assists in 42 competitive appearances.
However, the clubs player of the year was Fankaty Dabo, who was defensively superb in his 32 league appearances. In these games he made 44 interceptions and won 50 tackles, becoming a vital part The Sky Blues back line.
The transfer window
The transfer window isn't over yet and it's already been a successful one for Coventry. They have bought in five permanent signings and three players on loan.
Gustavo Hamer was bought in from PEC Zwolle for a fee of £1.5m. The attacking midfielder scored four and assisted six giving him a 27% goal involvement for the Dutch side. Hamer has trophies to his name too, he is a former Eredivisie and Dutch Super Cup winner.
The second attacking midfielder Robins has signed is Callum O'Hare from Aston Villa. O'Hare has signed permanently after a season-long loan. The Irishman made 40 appearances scoring four and assisting seven in all competitions and became a fan favourite at Coventry. His ability to split defensive lines with a through ball and dribble at defences is key for Coventry's attack.
Defensively they have signed Julien Da Costa from Chamois Niortais. Da Costa, who is a right-back, will bring a level of stability to the position and will most likely be backup for Dabo. Da Costa came through the academy at Marseille and has 87 career appearances to his name.
The other two players signed are both attackers, Marcel Hilbner who signed from SC Paderborn is predominantly a right winger but can also play both on the left or as a second striker. His versatility will add depth to an attack that needs to maintain a strong output this season.
The latest permanent signing is Tyler Walker, the former Nottingham Forest striker, has played 45 times for the first team, netting seven and assisting two. His 56 goals in 158 career appearances is respectable and a proven home grown striker is needed to add to Godden's goals.
The three loan signings are Leo Ostigard (Brighton), Ben Sheaf (Arsenal) and Ryan Giles (Wolves). The Sky Blues' may be the difference between them staying up, their additions in different areas on the pitch add depth and quality all over the pitch.
Coventry have had a strong pre-season and the positive results will give the players confidence for the start of the league season. Their two losses came against Rangers and Swindon. However, City have beaten Burton Albion, two different Peterborough United sides and Southampton's U23's.
The season ahead
The Championship is often dubbed one of the hardest leagues in the world to get out of, but for promoted League One sides it can be one of the hardest leagues to stay in.
Coventry are no exception to the rule, they will need to be at their best week in week out or they could risk going down. Since they were relegated to the second tier, just after the turn of the decade, they have finished above 15th spot only nine out of the 12 seasons. They were last relegated from the league in 2012 and will be looking for a different ending to the season this time around.
The quality of football in the Championship has improved year-by-year and the pace has increased. Coventry would need to fit into this style of football in order too avoid relegation.
Their attack is going to be key to their success season, they will need to utilise the goals their attack can provide. Sitting back against better teams would leave them exposed. They are strong going forward and additions like O'Hare and Walker will help massively.
The Sky Blues are not as strong in defence, and although it isn't awful, they will hope new signings Sheaf and Ostigard provide more stability and work well alongside the likes of Dominic Hyam and Kyle McFadzean.
In an interview with Coventry City, the Coventry Voss said: “It’s a different level entirely, we’ve improved and all we can do is improve our circumstances and we’ve done that considerably and hopefully we can have a good season.
“We will develop as we go and improve as we go along and I think this season everyone will say we want to stay in the division next season, but we don’t want to settle for that."
Robins knows he needs to be realistic but his recent success will provide the fans with the confidence that Coventry will stay in the Championship at the end of this season.