How Coventry City are expected to start against Sunderland and the verdict on new signing Callum Doyle

Sunderland face Coventry City in their season opener this weekend – but what can the Black Cats expect?

We caught up with Glenn Watkin from Sky Blue Fans TV on our latest episode of The Roar podcast to find out more about Mark Robins’ side.

It’s six wins out of six for Coventry in pre-season – what’s the mood like heading into the new campaign?

Viktor Gyokeres celebrates after scoring for Coventry City . (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

GW: “It’s almost gone too well in pre-season, we don’t normally have good pre-seasons .

“It’s been a bit weird winning every game. We have had a few tough tests. Forest was a tricky test, we did well to beat them.

“We have given teams some chances, Oxford and Portsmouth created some chances against us that I think a Championship team would take.

“It’s hard to judge really and we have not really played anyone outstanding.”

Who are the team’s key players?

GW: “Callum O’Hare is integral for us, I’d probably say he’s as important as Ross Stewart for Sunderland.

“I think Victor Gyokeres is a really, really good striker and if he has a good season he’ll go to the Premier League. He bullies defenders and is so hard to get off the ball.

“The one who I think goes a bit under the radar for Coventry is Ben Sheaf and he has added goals and assists to his game from midfield.”

What system are they likely to play?

GW: “I’m pretty sure we’ll go with a back three and wing-backs.

“The major question mark is who plays in goal, is it Simon Moore or Ben Wilson so that’s a bit up in the air.

“It’s whether we go with Gyokeres, Matt Godden and O’Hare or we go Jamie Allen, O’Hare and one from Godden and Gyokeres, that’s the dilemma.

“I would hope that Robins goes with the more attacking option, he has a bit of a reputation of going a bit conservative and maybe not using the subs enough.

“A lot of it will depend on how Sunderland will play. If Sunderland sit in deep it’s going to make it hard for us to break them down because we thrive on space and width.”

Coventry have signed former Sunderland defender Callum Doyle – is he likely to start?

GW: “I don’t think he’ll start.

“He has played a couple of games, he played away at Walsall and did well, made a couple of blocks.

“I think long term the plan is he’ll probably take over from Kyle McFadzean and he’ll either play in the middle of a back three or he’ll play on the left side and Jonathan Panzo will move into the middle.

“I’m really excited about having some defenders who are good on the ball. I think we possibly lacked that last season.

“I’m quite positive with Doyle, he looks good on the ball, he wins possession back high up the pitch which we need and helps get us on the attack.

“I don’t think he’ll start but then Robins could throw a curveball and put him in.

What’s your predicted line-up?

GW: “(3-4-1-2) Moore; Hyam, McFadzean, Panzo; Dabo, Sheaf, Hamer, Bidwell; O’Hare; Godden, Gyokeres.”