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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Coventry can continue to improve at Barnet

Bees set to be stung at Hive

Ben Stevenson has returned to the Coventry side after injury
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Sky Bet League Two
Sky Sports Football, 12.30pm Saturday

Coventry have overcome their uncertain start to life in Sky Bet League Two and can chalk up a fourth successive league win by beating lowly Barnet at the Hive.

The Sky Blues lost two of their first three games after relegation but passed a big test in their last away league game, beating promotion rivals Swindon 2-1. They look overpriced at odds-against to pick up three points.

Their top scorer, the pacy Duckens Nazon, is away on international duty with Haiti but Coventry manager Mark Robins has enough decent attacking options. Stuart Beavon and Mark McNulty returned to the starting line-up for Tuesday's EFL Trophy clash at Walsall which the Sky Blues won 4-3 on penalties after drawing 2-2.

Influential midfielder Ben Stevenson also returned from injury in midweek giving Coventry high hopes of building on their strong opening to the season.

Barnet had a decent enough start, taking ten points from their first six games, but they have banked just one more point from the last five contests.

Their options in attack have been reduced with John Akinde and Dave Tarpey injured. The loss of Akinde, their top scorer last season with 26 league goals, has been a major blow.

He was their talisman last term but missed a large chunk of pre-season due to injury and has made just two September substitute appearances before returning to the treatment room.

Saturday football columns

Didi Hamann

Mark Langdon

Dan Childs

Shaquile Coulthirst has emerged as their main goal threat. He scored six in 11 league appearances and was named Sky Bet Player of the Month for September.

However, the 22-year-old's fitness is in doubt after he tweaked a hamstring in last Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Wycombe and was withdrawn at half-time.

Coulthirst's contributions have not been enough to stop the Bees sliding down the table and their problems could increase against one of the strongest teams in the division.

2pts 6-5 general

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Team news
The hosts are stretched with John Akinde (hamstring), Richard Brindley (foot), Jamie Stephens, Curtis Weston, Dave Tarpey and Elliot Johnson (all knee) on the injured list. Shaquile Coulthirst tweaked his hamstring last weekend and did not feature in Tuesday's EFL Trophy match at Luton.

Duckens Nazon is on international duty with Haiti but forwards Mark McNulty and Stuart Beavon and midfielder Ben Stevenson are in contention after featuring in the EFL Trophy match at Walsall on Tuesday.

Key stat
Barnet have not kept a clean sheet in their last 12 matches.

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Barnet have not kept a clean sheet in their last 12 matches
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