Matt Godden interview: Coventry striker on Sky Blues’ promotion ambitions

It goes without saying Mark Robins is orchestrating something special at Coventry this season.

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On March 6, the 50-year-old will celebrate the third anniversary of taking over as Sky Blues’ boss for the second time, a period during which he has led them to promotion from Sky Bet League Two and – last year – their highest league finish since 2012.

This year, with the club firmly in contention for automatic promotion, he is on track to better that. It is the natural progression, yet it’s all the more impressive when you consider the fact Coventry have made a temporary move to Birmingham’s home, St Andrew’s, this term.

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One player central to their success to date has been Matt Godden.

Plagued by injury in the early years of his career at Scunthorpe, a 30-goal haul for Ebbsfleet in the Conference South in 2015/16 earned him another crack at the EFL and after finding his feet with Stevenage and then Peterborough, last summer he moved to the West Midlands for a reported seven-figure fee.

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He carried the momentum of scoring 14+ goals in four consecutive seasons into the current campaign, scoring four in his first eight in all competitions, but in mid-October, suffered a groin injury after a “freak accident” in training that kept him out of action for two months.

The 28-year-old returned to action in December and scored a hat-trick in successive 4-1 wins over Wycombe and Tranmere either side of New Year’s Eve. After scoring in the 1-1 draw with leaders Rotherham on Saturday, he has 13 to his name.

“It’s always nice to score in the big games,” he told Sky Sports.

“I grabbed the winner against Portsmouth and that was a really important win for us. They were a form side as well, they were on a nine-game winning run and we stopped that. Then to score the equaliser on Tuesday night was again important to keep our unbeaten run going.”

That unbeaten run stretches all the way back to December 21, during which time Coventry have won nine of their 12 games and gradually moved further towards the top two. But it’s not the first time they have accomplished such a feat, having gone unbeaten in the first 10 and losing two of the opening 19 league games.

There’s a multitude of reasons why, said Godden.

“Hard work; we’ve got momentum; confidence is really important in this league and especially at this time of the season. To have momentum going into the final months of the season is really important. Consistency as well. If we drew or lost, we’ve always bounced back with a win more often than not.

“Some people would question the way we play in League One, putting the ball at risk from the back with the goalkeeper straight away, but that’s the style of football that the management team have instilled in us here and all us players believe in it. That’s got us where we are today so we’re not going to back away from that.

“We come up against a lot of teams who play a different style to us, like to get the ball from back to front. We’re completely the opposite and you won’t find many teams in the league trying to play the way we’re playing.

“We’re a team here and we try to take every game as it comes. We’ve set a target and we don’t look ahead, we don’t look back. If we win the game we don’t get too high and low if we lose. We’ve not lost many games but the games that we have lost or drawn, we’ve always followed it up with a win and that’s important in this league, we’re on a good run now and long may it continue.”

On Sunday, Robins’ team tackle fellow promotion candidates Sunderland. The Black Cats have their own point to prove this season after failing to escape the clutches of the third tier last May, when they were beaten 2-1 by Charlton in the play-off final at Wembley.

An initial struggle under Phil Parkinson has long been forgotten, with his side now on an eye-catching run of their own. In their last 15 outings, Sunderland have lost once, conceded seven times and kept nine clean sheets.

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