Over hundred officers deployed for Coventry City Championship play-off match

Coventry City hope to keep dreams of return to Premier League alive as they reach Championship play-off match Credit: PA Images

Coventry City face Middlesbrough in the first of the two-legged Championship play-off semi-final on Sunday.

West Midlands Police have deployed more than 100 officers and specialists for the clash which kicks off at midday at the Coventry City Society Arena - the game is already a 30,000+ sell out.

The Sky Blues kept their dreams of a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2001 alive when they drew with Boro to secure the play-off semi-final with the Teessiders.

The two sides finished fourth (Boro) and fifth (Coventry) in the table and they play again in the first leg on Sunday 14 May for a place in the Wembley promotion final.

Speaking on securing the play-off spot, Mark Robins praised the players, staff and supporters. He said: “It’s a phenomenal achievement but it’s just the start of it.

“We’ve got a bit of work to do this week, it’s a triple header [against Middlesbrough] and we knew there was a chance of it being that, so a home game on Sunday and we’re really looking forward to it.

“It’s an outstanding achievement and considering all the stuff that has gone on and all the rubbish we’ve had to put up with, hopefully the new ownership are happy and Doug must be thanking his lucky stars and we’re three games away from something really special.

“I’m proud of them, every single one of them, all the staff and all the players.

Chief Superintendent Richard Fisher, overseeing operations at the game, said: “We know this is a significant occasion for Coventry City and the club's fans. 

“We will have more than 100 officers and specialists deployed to the game, working with the football club and Building Society Arena safety team and our colleagues from Cleveland Police to help things run smoothly and keep fans safe.

“We always balance the responsibilities of events organisers alongside the need for safety and security at large events like this with the enjoyment of the fans attending.

“Each fixture is assessed on its merits against the required national approach in consultation with the club when deciding how to allocate police resources.”

The force said while incidents at previous games are taken into consideration, they are not necessarily a sole determining factor in our response to this game.

It said that fans deserve to be able to attend football matches safely and following disorder at the recent Coventry vs Birmingham game they are continuing investigations to identify those responsible.

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Mark Robins’ side have seen a stark turnaround. Having overcome problems at the start of the season with an unsuitable pitch, they have now climbed the table to overhaul several better-financed Championship rivals.

If Coventry make it to the Championship play off final at Wembley, then one of the most lucrative games in world football awaits.

The winners will leave the second tier of English football, earning a place in the Premier League.

For a club which has financially struggled for years, the financial prize that is on offer and the challenge of welcoming the best players and coaches to Coventry to take on the Sky Blues is in sight.