Six rising Coventry City stars who could save the Sky Blues millions in transfer fees

Coventry City have prided themselves on producing home grown talent over the years, with many a Sky Blues Academy graduate progressing to the first team and in some cases being sold for millions.

The likes of Callum Wilson and James Maddison are among the most high profile while others have stepped up and established themselves as seniors and given good service to the club, the likes of Lee Burge, Jordan Willis, Gael Bigirimana, Ryan Haynes and George Thomas, for example, who helped City to Checkatrade Trophy success at Wembley.

Fast forward 12 months and Tom Bayliss – later sold for a significant fee to Preston North End – and Jordan Shipley helped the Sky Blues to promotion via the League Two play-offs. More recently, Josh Eccles is the latest Academy success story who has firmly established himself as a regular under Mark Robins.

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The higher up the leagues you go, of course, the harder it is for kids to break through, and game time can be limited for youngsters, some of whom may find themselves sent out on loan to get first team football as was the case for Jack Burroughs and Ryan Howley who went out to Lincoln and Dundee, respectively, last season.

But what about the next generation of development youngsters who will be battling to catch the manager’s eye in the coming weeks, months and years? Here we take a look at six rising Sky Blues stars working hard to bridge the gap between development football and the first team.

Luke Bell, goalkeeper

Described as a ‘brave’ goalkeeper, Luke has regularly trained up with the first team, having come through the Academy which he joined as an Under-15. He’s suffered a few contact injuries off the back of diving at centre-forwards’ feet and going in bravely with other opponents, and described by development coach John Dempster as a “brilliant shot stopper” who has “trained at a good level” with the first team.

Joshua Gordon, centre-back

Standing at 6ft 4/5, this lad has all the attributes to make an imposing and dominant centre-half, while also being good with the ball at his feet – a prerequisite for central defenders these days. Josh has played for the Under-18s as well as stepping up to the Under-21s last season.

Elliot Betjemann, box-to-box midfielder

Fairly small in stature, Elliot is a high energy, box-to-box midfielder who has an eye for goals but can also defend. He’s a bit of a set-piece specialist and takes most of the free-kicks.

Kai Andrews in pre-season action for Coventry City at Forest Green Rovers
Up and coming Coventry City goalkeeper Luke Bell

Kai Andrews, attacking midfield/number ten

Kai came back for pre-season this time last year after his first year as a scholar and “smashed” all the fitness scores, according to coach Dempster. And off the back of that one of the first team players went down with a minor injury and he got called up and really impressed the first team staff, which resulted in him making his debut against Middlesbrough, aged 17. It wasn’t a very long appearance but he got on the pitch in a Championship game. He’s seen as a No.10 or attacking midfielder because he can get around the pitch and has good receiving skills which allows him to play in a number of positions. He was rewarded with a few minutes in the 5-0 thumping of Rotherham at the CBS in March and could well feature in pre-season.

Justin Obikwu, striker

Justin was one of the fastest players, certainly at the Academy, so has the ability to run in behind and stretch defences. Standing at 6ft 3, he has a physical presence which will help him hold up the ball and bring other players into play. He has the ability to press from the front and he makes defenders make mistakes. The 20-year-old went out on loan to League Two Grimsby Town in January where he made 16 appearances, including ten starts, and scored three goals. He suffered an ankle injury towards the end of the season but is hoped to be fit to feature in pre-season.

Aidan Dausch, centre-forward

Mark Robins is excited by City’s latest Academy prospect to get a taste of first team football. The Sky Blues boss handed the centre-forward his second cameo in as many games, sending him on in stoppage time for the final few minutes against Ipswich at the CBS, having gone on late at Blackburn a few days earlier at the back end of the season. And the 17-year-old very nearly popped up with what would have been a stunning equaliser with a shot that sailed just wide of the top corner that the manager said would have scooped an end of season award had it gone in.

“That was a brilliant piece of play because it wasn’t a great ball to him but he brought it down out of the air and got it onto his left foot, so everything he did, the mechanics of that movement were really good,” enthused Robins. “It was just the final execution but if that had gone in it would have been goal of the season. The way he moved onto it, his first touch and vision to get into space and the execution of the shot - everything was there apart from the direction of the finish. That’s good, exciting!”

Expect him to be in and around first team training this summer to feature further in the pre-season.

Who out of the above excites you? Tell us in the comments HERE.