Coventry City boss makes Liam Kitching admission & pinpoints big positive after ten man goalless draw

Mark Robins insists Liam Kitching has ‘got to learn’ after being shown his third red card of the season for Coventry City – earning himself the dubious honour of being the first player in the club’s history to be sent off three times in the same campaign.

The centre-half was given his marching orders just after the hour at Ewood Park for a last man professional foul on Blackburn’s Sam Gallagher, leaving a tired looking Sky Blues to hold on for a draw and keep their first clean sheet in eight Championship matches – the biggest positive the manager could take from the game. Kitching now faces a three match ban which means he’ll miss the last two games and the first match of next season.

Asked for his assessment of the game, Robins said: “Umm... It was a good clean sheet. We had tired legs coming into the game so the last thing you want is to go a man down. Unfortunately that’s what happened and we made some changes with one or two players having to come off for a bit of a breather. And for us it was just a little bit flat, for obvious reasons.

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“So from our point of view to get a clean sheet is pleasing, so for us now we have to recover and go again on Tuesday against Ipswich.”

City were clearly still feeling the effects of last Sunday's FA Cup semi-final as well as Wednesday's 3-2 defeat at home to Hull.

“The game for us, we gave everything we possibly could do," said the manager. "There were some really good passages of play and had probably one of the best moments in the game when Kels (Liam Kelly) hit the post and it stayed out, but apart from that there was not a great deal in it.

“They had plenty of the ball and they looked nervy and we could have capitalised on that but we just didn’t have the energy or the quality at times, so we had a little bit of a lull in the game. But to get a clean sheet was something that was needed because we haven’t had one for a while, so in that sense it was a positive.”

Aside from Kelly hitting the post, Haji Wright had City’s best chance of the first half.

“There was a good bit of play when Callum (O’Hare) played the ball across to Haji and I think with more energy he would work the keeper," he said. "Like I said, they need a bit of a breather which they will get in another week. But we have two games left so we have to recover as well as we possibly can do and then go again against an Ipswich side who may be going for promotion, depending on what happens.

"So there’s an incentive in itself. There are two good games left and what it does is obviously stops the run of defeats we had prior to the FA Cup and on Wednesday evening. There’s not a lot of time to recover either.”

Commenting on the sending off, he said: “That’s the third time this season so he’s got to learn, that’s for sure. And he misses the first game of next season now, which is a huge disappointment for everybody. So we have to look at what we have available to play on Tuesday evening.”

As for the incident itself, he explained: “Bobby (Thomas) was there as a covering defender but the referee said that the player’s next action was to shoot, in his opinion. He was still 20-25 yards out but he has a decision to make and he’s made it, and there’s not a lot you can do about it. I think really there’s no point in talking about appeals at this stage. I will have a look at it again but he’s going to have to learn.”

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