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[26 FEB 99] COVENTRY CITY FC NEWS
Aston Villa v Coventry City - Preview

Gordon Strachan waits on news of Noel Whelan and George Boateng before settling on his side for the big local derby match at Aston Villa.

Villa did the league double over City last season, but Coventry gained a measure of revenge when they beat their big rivals 1-0 in the FA Cup with a goal from Viorel Moldovan, made by Boateng.

It was a history making day because it was Coventry’s first ever victory at Villa Park. Now they aim to achieve their first ever league win there.

Inevitably the match is dominated by the lurking presence of Dion Dublin, who left Coventry for Villa in controversial circumstances. The deal was finally done for a 5.75 million fee and the player now earns a cool 1.5 million a year.

But after his move he hauled Coventry before the FA for alleging that he had refused to play for them in the league cup tie at Luton Town a few days before his transfer. The FA found in the player’s favour.

He won over the Villa fans very quickly with a hatful of goals in his early games but he has not hit the net since mid-December and is said to need an operation to close a hernia once the season ends.

The condition is causing him some discomfort but he is expected to play against his close friend Paul Williams, who together with Richard Shaw has already kept Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Andy Cole and former Villa favourite Dwight Yorke off the score sheet.

Williams said:

"I talk to Dion at least twice a week on the telephone. We are good mates, but the phone has stayed down this week. He will be a real handful during the match, but we will have a drink together afterwards."

Gordon Strachan, meanwhile, awaits news of Whelan and Boateng. Whelan badly bruised a shoulder against Manchester United last weekend and though he can run without pain the manager said:

"It is a question of the physical contact during a match we have to think about."

Boateng was ill during the week and missed training yesterday. If he cannot play, Trond Soltvedt is the likely replacement, while John Aloisi is expected to take over from Whelan.
    

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 26 Feb 99

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