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In the space of just a few days, Coventry City football club have said goodbye to three players.

Paul Williams and Paul Telfer, the latter out of contract but training with the Sky Blues up to the end of last week, have both moved to Southampton to rejoin former manager Gordon Strachan.

Carlton PalmerCarlton Palmer has finally realised his ambition to become a manager. He is now player-manager at Stockport County.

Until his “elevation” into the Stockport hot seat, Carlton remained a Coventry City player, despite a spell on loan at his former club Sheffield Wednesday.

Indeed, at Hillsborough, Carlton managed to upset caretaker manager Terry Yorath – another Sky Blues’ old boy, of course – by staking his own claim to the vacant job as manager of Wednesday.

Carlton’s ability to say just that little bit too much, at the wrong moment, has landed him in hot water many times before, not least of which was the incident last season when he told the Coventry City Vice-President’s club just what he thought of the club, its manager and chairman and what he regarded as the clubs lack of ambition.

That he is entitled to hold his views should not be doubted by anyone. That he should keep his opinions to himself while being paid well as a servant of the club is a point of view shared by many.

That, however, is not Carlton’s way. Apparently, he can’t help but speak his mind and it will be fascinating, now that he is a manager, to see how he copes if any of his players speak out against him.

He has one massive boost already in place as he embarks on his new career, the presence of yet another ex-City man, Kevin Richardson, as his coach.

Whether that was Carlton’s idea, or his new Chairman’s I do not know, but I am sure that Kevin Richardson is destined to be probably one of the best coaches in the game.

In the autumn of his playing days, at the heart of the City midfield, Kevin could often be observed coaching the younger players around him, giving them a masterclass in how to play the game.

He was an immaculate, model professional as a player and will carry that same style with him into coaching and maybe, one day, as a manager in his own right.

The two Paul’s – Williams and Telfer – leave Coventry at a time when both would probably have been fringe players, at best, under Roland Nilsson, had they stayed.

Both are wholly committed footballers, only ever able to commit 100% to their game. No manager could ask for more.

Neither, however, are great players and the young guns growing in confidence and experience under Nilsson’s guidance are arguably better equipped to take the club forward.

Their return to the Premiership with Gordon Strachan is a fine way for both to move towards the end of their playing careers and they could provide just the sort of fire and bite that Southampton have been lacking.

The departure of all three also enables City Chairman Bryan Richardson to make further economies, at least by reducing the club’s wage bill. It may also make it easier for Roland Nilsson to bring in some fresh blood.

He is yet to make his first signing, apart from the completion of goalkeeper Andy Goram’s deal to stay on as cover for Magnus Hedman, but I expect a new face to arrive before too long.

The club’s lack of firepower is worrying and, although Nilsson has been happy to give the likes of Jairo Martinez, Jay Bothroyd and Laurent Delorge the chance to show what they can do up front, I don’t think that situation will be allowed to continue much longer.

The club urgently need to find someone capable of playing alongside and bringing the best out of Lee Hughes and I am not convinced that Julian Joachim, almost recovered from the injury that has kept him sidelined for so long, is the answer.

I hope he proves me wrong, but as the weeks tick by and the need to keep pace with the top clubs in the Division builds up, I think that a new striker to partner Hughes will become a major priority.

Don’t expect a big name from the Premiership. Having trimmed the wage bill, Bryan Richardson will not want to raise it again, but a regular goal-scorer from the lower divisions could well be on his way to Highfield Road before we are all very much older.

Arriving, one hopes, to provide the service and commitment that we enjoyed from Paul Williams and Paul Telfer, and, unlike Carlton Palmer, someone who will let his football do all the talking. We want someone who has the same goals as the club – and I mean, literally, goals!

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / Stuart Linnell / 8 Nov 01
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