City are set to unleash their African duo on the Premiership tomorrow convinced they have
bagged two bargains from under the noses of their bigger rivals.
Amazingly Gordon Strachan faced no domestic competition when he started chasing
Moroccan Mustapha Hadji. The £4 million capture, who will make his debut against
Southampton tomorrow, was one of the stars of France 98 and is African Player of the Year,
yet only Coventry and Marseille were prepared to meet the asking price from Deportivo de
Hadji has been joined by fellow countryman Youssef Chippo - who cost just £1 million -
and the pair will get an early taste of the less glamorous side of the Premiership.
But Coventry are delighted with their low key start to the season after feeling that
their last campaign was severely hampered by the fixture list. The computer pitched them
against Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Newcastle United in the
first few weeks but this time around they face the Saints, Wimbledon, Leicester and Derby.
Whelan, who will lead the attack, believes that could make a crucial difference.
"If we get off to a good start with some wins the confidence will be up and it
will make life a little easier when it comes to the Manchester United and Liverpool games.
"The boys are desperate to get off to a good start and for the first time in years
we don't have Chelsea on the first day, but we have got Southampton which is a
"It can make a huge difference if you get points on the board early on and it
shapes your season. Last year we lost seven of our first eleven games and it is very
difficult to recover from that.
"The Moroccan lads have looked very good in training and both have a really good
reputation. Hadji was a real star of the World Cup and it is exciting to see him here
playing for us. He could make a big impact."