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Sky Blues Prepare For Chelsea Stars 

Coventry City made the rain-soaked journey to London believing they could, at last, achieve their first away victory of the season despite the fact that they were playing mighty Chelsea.

On the face of it their trip was going to be a forlorn one.

Chelsea beat mighty Barcelona 3-1 in the European Champions League then disposed of Newcastle United to reach the FA Cup Final; highly-charged, high-pressure matches and all in the space of a few days.

To a large extent it is the knowledge of the huge physical and mental demands that such matches make on players that gives Coventry hope.

There is a belief by some that Coventry will be seen as 'easy meat' after two such high profile games, and that could rebound in their favour.

Chelsea's manager Gianluca Vialli is expected to make changes to rest certain players in order to complete the job over Barcelona in next week's second leg of the Euro-tie.

Coventry need not fear a new tactical plan from the Italian.

Manager Gordon Strachan said:

"I was listening to Chelsea's coach Graham Rix on the radio and he is quite right that they play the same system week in week out.

"It is just the personnel in the team that changes. So we basically know the system and we have just got to guess who the players are.

"They will be good, no matter who is playing, that is for sure. Most of them will be world class. It is up to us to get it right."

Strachan's team preparations have been hampered by the absence of Moustapha Hadji and Youssef Chippo on international duty for Morocco.

They were linking up with their team-mates in London today after flying in from a World Cup qualifying match against The Gambia.

Strachan was expected to make one change for the match. Magnus Hedman is likely to reclaim his goalkeeper place after missing two games with a back injury.

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'Coventry City - the Elite Era' by Jim Brown

CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 12 Apr 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM