Tag Archives: thorn

Kevin Kilbane retires from football

Former Ireland and Everton star Kilbane retires from football after stint at Coventry

|

UPDATED:

00:55 GMT, 8 December 2012

Former Republic of Ireland international Kevin Kilbane has announced his retirement from football.

The 35-year-old has ended his career with League One Coventry City.

Kilbane was named Coventry captain when Andy Thorn signed him on a free transfer but in the summer Kilbane has now decided to call an end to his nine-club, 710 club and international appearances career.

Retired: Kevin Kilbane has quit football

Retired: Kevin Kilbane has quit football

The midfielder, who made his debut aged 18 for home-town club Preston North End in 1998, returned after nearly a year out with the back injury which ended his international career and a record consecutive run of 66 competitive games, two years ago.

He said: 'I know it’s the right decision for me, and my family, and, if there is one consolation, I’m pleased it has been in my hands. A lot of good friends haven’t had the privilege because injury has ended their careers.

'When I think back to the sacrifices I have made over the years, particularly representing my country, I don’t regret them.

'Most importantly, after too many nights, weeks and months away from them, I want to be near my family. It’s time to put me and the family first now.

'I would like to thank the directors, coaching staff, players and supporters at Coventry City Football Club for my brief time at the Club and wish them all the best for the future’.

Star man: Kilbane was a well-established member of the Ireland setup

Star man: Kilbane was a well-established member of the Ireland setup

Sky Blues director Steve Waggot said: 'Kevin has been a great professional throughout his career and we would like to thank him for his services to the Club and wish him all the very best in whatever he decides to do in the future'.

Kilbane, who made 110 appearances for Ireland, behind only Shay Given and Robbie Keane, will initially concentrate on a media career and will join the Irish Daily Mail as a weekly columnist from today.

He will also work with BBC 5 live. Kilbane has UEFA A and B licences and has not ruled out a return to coaching after a brief stint with Hull City reserves last season.

He also plans to increase his profile as patron of the Downs Syndrome Association and is writing his autobiography in aid of the charity.

The Midlander: The Midlander: Baggies bow out, but at least they took the Capital One Cup seriously

Baggies crashed out, but at least they took the Capital One Cup seriously

|

UPDATED:

12:56 GMT, 27 September 2012

It was a shame for West Brom that Steve Clarke's best intentions in the Capital One Cup were not rewarded on Wednesday night.

One glance down the team-sheet showed that the Scot was taking the competition seriously.

There were no wholesale changes. No real suggestion in his starting XI that the Baggies have the mother of all derby confrontations at Villa Park to look forward to this weekend.

Serious: Steve Clarke fielded a strong side to take on Liverpool

Serious: Steve Clarke fielded a strong side to take on Liverpool

More from Neil Moxley…

The Midlander: Dan the Man will be a tough act to follow at West Brom
20/09/12

The Midlander: Birmingham need to avoid Paladini for their own good
14/09/12

The Midlander: Whisper it quietly, but Forest could be on the road to success…
07/09/12

The Midlander: Thorn sacking is one of many strange decisions by Coventry
30/08/12

The Midlander: Lambert has work to do in the window to add the goals he craves
23/08/12

The Midlander: How West Brom emerged as the unlikely flag-bearers round here
16/08/12

The Midlander: Tremendous track record Solbakken faces test from the start
09/08/12

The Midlander: All change at Villa but fans will relish new era of Lambert's Lions
02/08/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Of course, Clarke could have taken another option. He could have fielded a below-strength West Brom side. (That on Wednesday night's evidence would have been taken to the cleaners by a very good, young Liverpool team.)

So on that basis, it was pleasing to see him treat the competition like something West Brom actually wanted to be involved in.

Thank goodness.

Why do I say that

The football-supporting public have been brain-washed, believing the Champions League and Premier League is the be-all and end-all.

Of course, for the clubs involved, it is.

The revenues generated by both competitions are staggering.

Next season, when the new television deal kicks in, those participating in the Premier League will see their bottom-line income balloon by over 20m. (That figure includes overseas rights.)

What does that mean

Well, it means if you are a supporter of West Brom it means you have earned the right to play against 19 other clubs during the course of a season in the hope that you will garner enough points to play in the competition again.

Sunk: Nuri Sahin's double saw off West Brom in the end

Sunk: Nuri Sahin's double saw off West Brom in the end

Sunk: Nuri Sahin's double saw off West Brom in the end

Does anyone think the Baggies have a chance of winning the competition

Good lord, no! Any notion of equality in that respect has long disappeared.

So what are fans in it for, then

This may come as a shock to the Premier League. But, first, there are supporters out there who don't follow the top six clubs.

Secondly, there is a notion of glory. A day in the sun. When you can puff out your chest and say: 'West Brom – FA Cup winners 2013.'

It's there. In black and white. 'Birmingham City – Carling Cup winners 2011.'
Under the all-consuming push to sell satellite subscriptions, we are bombarded with messages that the Premier League is the place to be.

But does it really matter to a West Brom fan if they finish 10th or 13th
Of course not.

It matters to the Hawthorns' bean-counters. They will bank an extra 3m in merit money.

But is that passed on to the punters in the form of lower ticket prices or other benefits

Again, of course not. They won't see any 'real' benefit. Hopefully an improvement in the quality of player. But 11 players will still take to the pitch wearing navy blue and white striped shirts, regardless.

If Birmingham City supporters had a straight choice between winning that Carling Cup on February 27, 2011 or another season in the top-flight, I can absolutely guarantee what they would (actually do) say.

They do say: 'I'll take the trophy, thanks.'

Them too: Aston Villa knocked Manchester City out of the Capital One Cup at the Etihad

Them too: Aston Villa knocked Manchester City out of the Capital One Cup at the Etihad

Were I a Baggies' man, it would stick in my throat that Roberto Di Matteo did not play a recognised first-team at Ipswich in the same competition that Birmingham ended up winning.

On that very night, when Nikola Zigic's scrambled goal defeated Aston Villa, I know for a cold-stone certainty that Alex McLeish would not have fielded his strongest XI had it not been a quarter-final against the club's rivals from across the Aston Expressway.

What happened subsequently bears out the absolute folly of not treating this competition seriously.

Birmingham went on to win it. Alex McLeish picked up another job (at Villa) because of it.

There's no way that he would have been employed at Villa Park without that triumph on his CV. No way.

A set of players received greater exposure, enhanced their reputations and probably, when Birmingham were relegated, also picked up lucrative transfers because of it.

And the supporters

They enjoyed one of the best days out…ever.

It is a difficult line for some managers to tread. Their own personal short-term futures might depend on staying in the Premier League.

But Jose Mourinho went hammer and tongs at the League Cup. It was the first trophy he won with Chelsea.

Brian Clough had bigger priorities than the same competition when Nottingham Forest won it a couple of times in the early 1980s.

Troublesome: Gabriel Agbonlahor wreaked havoc in Manchester

Troublesome: Gabriel Agbonlahor wreaked havoc in Manchester

And I didn't see Sir Alex Ferguson cocking a snoop at it either, when it was the only pot Manchester United won in 2006 against Wigan Athletic.

Those top-six clubs may now have different priorities.

But – and this isn't just aimed at West Brom, it's directed at every other club of a certain size out there – there has to be room for glory in this game.

The glory of a League Cup win, or FA Cup final win. It does matter to the fans, it does.

Don't field reserve teams. Treat the competition seriously. Who knows, you might end up winning it.

Let's face it, if just staying in the Premier League is the be-all and end-ell, what really is the point of that

This column is supposed to reflect the week's events in the Midlands.

So the stand-out stories

Villa's win at Manchester City Yes, a fantastic result to follow a second-half wipeout at St Mary's.

It was heartening to see Villa defeat a team they aren't supposed to. ie One of the Champions League mob.

It happens every so often. Like at Chelsea last December. And at the Emirates against Arsenal the season before.

But not nearly as often as it should. It was genuinely heart-warming. Promising, although you suspect the season may contain lows as well as highs.

Over at Coventry, they have welcomed a new manager's arrival with a 6-1 drubbing at Arsenal.

Pick your battles: Clarke (right) knows that West Brom fans relish the cup competitions

Pick your battles: Clarke (right) knows that West Brom fans relish the cup competitions

I was quietly impressed with Robins hearing him speak during the pre-match press conference. I think the Sky Blues may have landed a good 'un there.

Other than that, what else is there

Derby's reversal to Burnley was surprising as I'd seen the Clarets lose to Leicester last week.

They were nothing to write home about so I did raise an eyebrow at the Rams' defeat – although with Charlie Austin back in the team at the King Power Stadium, Eddie Howe may have been missing a cutting edge.

No, all that apart, the most alarming story of the week was Birmingham City 0 Barnsley 5.

I watched that particular horror unfold from the press room at the Baggies.

After being fortunate enough to witness about 80 live matches during the course of a season for the best part of two decades, I have to say it was the single most inept, lifeless and gutless showing I can remember from any side, anywhere, at any time.

And remember, I've only just returned from watching Wales ship six in Serbia.

The players were bad, the manager's decision to switch to a three-man defence was ill-conceived and Barnsley – average at Wolves a few weeks ago – should have filled their boots.

You can say what you like – and there is no doubt that there is a current malaise at the club – but those responsible out on the pitch – and in the dug-out – need to take a long look at themselves.

Bigger fish to fry: Teams like Manchester City will be more focused on the Premier League and the Champions League

Bigger fish to fry: Teams like Manchester City will be more focused on the Premier League and the Champions League

I'm not just talking about Clark either, what are Terry McDermott and Derek Fazackerley supposed to be doing The latter was part of England's set-up under Kevin Keegan, after all.

With away-days to follow this weekend at Brighton and Cardiff next week, Lee Clark could be treading on the thinnest of ice if he is not careful.

The least Birmingham City supporters demand is effort.

When even that vital ingredient is missing, you really are in trouble. Clark would be wise not to let it happen again.

Finally, talk about being put in your place.

I pitched up at Ryton to speak to Mark Robins and was greeted by first-team coach Lee Carsley, full of his gently teasing humour and dry wit.

After pleasantries are exchanged, the conversation goes as follows:

Carsley: 'Me and Kev (Kilbane) are thinking about doing a bike ride for charity next summer, do you fancy coming

Me: 'Er, dunno. How far is it'

Carsley: 'Well, it will take about a week, possibly a bit more.'

Me: 'Well, if you really think I could do it. Do you think I'd be fit enough'

Carsley: 'I don't need you to ride a bike, you muppet, we need someone to drive the van….'

Phil Brown set to take Coventry job

Former Hull and Preston boss Brown set to take Coventry hot seat

|

UPDATED:

08:34 GMT, 12 September 2012

Phil Brown is set for a return to management at League One side Coventry City.

The 53-year-old has been out of work since being axed by Preston in December but was interviewed by Sky Blues chiefs on Tuesday.

Coventry talks: Phil Brown

Coventry talks: Phil Brown

And the former Bolton No 2 and Derby boss has replaced Oxford boss Chris Wilder as the new favourite to succeed the sacked Andy Thorn at the Ricoh Arena.

Coventry have yet to confirm whether a new manager will be in place for Saturday's match against Tranmere.

Richard Shaw and Lee Carsley will remain in charge of the Sky Blues on a caretaker basis until a permanent manager is appointed.

Andy Thorn sacking strange move – The Midlander

Thorn sacking is one of many strange decisions by Coventry

|

UPDATED:

10:12 GMT, 30 August 2012

There have been some strange decisions at Coventry City over the years.

Selling Highfield Road might have been one. Sacking Eric Black certainly fell into that category.

Current owners SISU handing over their cash to Ray Ranson Ouch.

Dismissed: Andy Thorn was axed by Coventry after three league draws

Dismissed: Andy Thorn was axed by Coventry after three league draws

More from Neil Moxley…

The Midlander: Lambert has work to do in the window to add the goals he craves
23/08/12

The Midlander: How West Brom emerged as the unlikely flag-bearers round here
16/08/12

The Midlander: Tremendous track record Solbakken faces test from the start
09/08/12

The Midlander: All change at Villa but fans will relish new era of Lambert's Lions
02/08/12

Season review part 1 – Aston Villa, Wolves, West Brom, Birmingham and Coventry
24/05/12

The Midlander: Solbakken faces uphill struggle to restore Wolves' fortunes
18/05/12

The Midlander: Council are the only ones who can revive Coventry
11/05/12

The Midlander: No more Mr Nice Guy if Villa want bums on seats
03/05/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

And so it was with a resigned air of acceptance that it was business as unusual when news broke on Sunday lunchtime that Andy Thorn had been sacked.

Yes, after an unbeaten start to the season with his heavily-changed squad.

I accept that it must have been gut-wrenching to see a two-goal lead slip away at the Ricoh against Bury, just 24 hours before that decision was made.

Just as I accept it must have been galling to see a hatful of chances go begging at Yeovil.

And I know also that the performance – as admitted on Radio Five afterwards by goalscorer Kevin Kilbane – wasn't up to scratch against Dagenham and Redbridge.

But the good news is that the Sky Blues progressed in the Capital One Cup. And were able to beat Birmingham City on Tuesday night.

Five matches with the same players and undefeated to boot.

At a time when managers, we are told, are accountable through results, Thorn was in credit this season.

The players have been put through their paces in pre-season. Systems have been worked upon.

And with the sacking, all of that goes out of the window.

When Coventry City end their due diligence on their prospective manager, they are likely to have to adapt to the new guy's method of working. He may want to bring in his new players.

Another period of transition and change.

Now, I have no particular support for Thorn. He had a difficult job last year but I'm not convinced that relegation was a natural consequence for Coventry City when the campaign kicked off 12 months ago.

Thorn's record over 57 games was poor. Did it change that much over 60

However, my problem is this: If you are going to back him during the close-season and allow him to bring in his own players, then surely he needs more than 270 minutes to put his plans into operation

At this point, I know there will be supporters pointing to Bryan Gunn's sacking at Norwich City and Paul Lambert's subsequent appointment.

New squad: Thorn had several new players to manage

New squad: Thorn had several new players to manage

But the Canaries actually had played two matches – winning at Yeovil and then drawing at Exeter before the Scot's arrival was confirmed. Who knows what might have happened had Gunn stayed And, ergo, had Thorn.

Off-the-field Tim Fisher, Coventry City's de facto chief executive, appears to be heading in the right direction. Negotiations with various parties over the rent, Ricoh Arena ownership issue and the city council are on-going.

But he needs to be mindful of the fact that of the 'big' clubs who have dropped into League One, only Leicester City have made it out at the first time of asking. Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Charlton Athletic, the two Sheffield clubs – none of those jumped straight back into the Championship.

It is not an easy league to escape.

In fairness, Fisher suggested there were 'other factors' in the statement which followed Thorn's. One day, when the legalities have no doubt been sorted out, we might find the truth.

And, I suppose the point is this: If Coventry do end in the top six – as was the stated aim at the start of the season – then the board's decision will be vindicated.

If not, supporters will point to Thorn's sacking and ask why he wasn't given time.

As possibly we all expected prior to last Sunday's announcement, results will determine all come May next year.

Clark must make his mark

I witnessed Lee Clark's Birmingham City side take on Barnet in the Capital One Cup to see his team first-hand, not being able to get to early-season Championship matches due to Premier League commitments.

Barnet could have been three or four goals to the good during a first-half performance that was, quite frankly, worrying for Bluenoses. I know, and they won 5-1.

Never mind what has happened since then, an observer such as myself could see that the midfield was a problem area. Everyone wanted to go forward with the ball. No-one actually was of a mind to track towards their own goal and get it. That night, Blues got away with it.

After watching a re-run of the Watford game on Sky+, it was plain to see that the new manager does not really have much of a clue as to his best formation or his best personnel. Frankly, that's worrying. And surely the purpose of a glut of pre-season games.

Impact: Lee Clark needs to stamp his authority on Birmingham

Impact: Lee Clark needs to stamp his authority on Birmingham

Listening to match summariser Geoff Horsfield say on radio (repeatedly) on the way back from Villa Park that Blues needed to close down Villa old boy Jonathan Hogg, I was left to wonder why, if the problem was clear to 'Horse,' why it wasn't to the manager.

I've interviewed Clark and he's a personable guy, but his interview after the match at Vicarage Road did not show him in a good light at all. The inquisitor was asking perfectly reasonable questions. It doesn't come across well.

Clarks' defence has now let in an average of two goals per game. I know Blues scored plenty last season, but that is history now.

Between now and the October break for the international double-headers, Clark's team has two home matches against Peterborough and Barnsley – and three tricky fixtures at Forest, Brighton and Cardiff.

Supporters are no mugs and the message-boards are full of disgruntled punters, particularly among the 3,000 who made the short trip down the M6 following Tuesday's defeat at Coventry.

Clark must stamp his authority on the club and decide on a consistent course of action. And quickly.

West Brom dominate Villa

Just for fun, I put together a combined West Brom/Villa XI the other day. The best team I could muster from the resources available and on current form.

The following was what I came up with: Foster, Reid, Vlaar, Olsson, Ridgewell; Morrison; Mulumbu, Yacob, Odemwingie; Long, Bent.

One of few: Darren Bent would make it into a joint XI

One of few: Darren Bent would make it into a joint XI

I could mount a significant case too for the inclusion of McAuley alongside Olsson. Not one of Villa's other players would get in ahead of their counterparts at the Baggies.

So, never mind the dreadful showing at Villa Park against Everton, that tells you everything you need to know about the current state of Paul Lambert's squad. And the current state of Steve Clarke's.

Andy Thorn sacked by Coventry

Time's up! Thorn axed as Coventry start League One life with three draws

|

UPDATED:

13:38 GMT, 26 August 2012

Coventry have acted decisively to sack manager Andy Thorn after three successive draws in the npower League One.

Thore was in charge as the team was relegated from the Championship last season and the board's patience ran out after Coventry let a two goal lead slip against Bury at home on Saturday.

Several important players were sold in the summer including Martin Cranie to Barnsley, Gael Bigirimana to Newcastle and Richard Keogh to Derby County.

Sacked: Andy Thorn has been fired

Sacked: Andy Thorn has been fired

The manager, who was at the club for 17 months, brought nine new faces in over the summer but will not be given any longer to get them to gel.

It is expected the Sky Blues will ask either Richard Shaw, the assistanat manager, or Lee Carsley, the former Everton midfielder and Coventry development coach, to fill the gap temporarily, with the potential of getting the job full time.

After their disappointing draw with Bury, Thorne spoke out about his players' performances.

'We told them at half-time exactly what was going to happen and it did. They matched us up, we told them that would happen and we got complacent,' he said.

'We knew what substitutions they would make, we know what they do in their games and that's exactly what they did. Everyone knew what they were about and we were aware of it.

'Two poor bits of defending have cost us. Two schoolboy pieces of defending for the two goals.'

The club are in a financial mire with budgets slashed thanks to relegation. They also having trouble paying the rent for their stadium, the Ricoh Arena.

Coventry's relegation last season means this is the first time in 48 years they have been as low as the third tier of English football.

Peter Lorimer: The night my Leeds gave Barcelona a beating

Peter Lorimer: The night my Leeds gave Barcelona a beating

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

21:45 GMT, 23 April 2012

|

UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 23 April 2012

Peter Lorimer tells Sportsmail's John Edwards about the April night in 1975 when his Leeds side went to the Nou Camp and stunned Barcelona in a European Cup semi-final, drawing 1-1 to reach the final.

It was fully 37 years ago, but it remains a vivid memory to this day.

We were seven minutes into our European Cup semi-final return meeting with Barcelona when keeper David Stewart hoisted a clearance deep into the opposition half.

Nou order: Peter Lorimer scores then celebrates with his team-mates

Nou order: Peter Lorimer scores then celebrates with his team-mates

Nou order: Lorimer scores then celebrates with histeam-mates

As the ball dropped, big Joe Jordan rose high above his marker and flicked it into my path, 20 yards or so from goal on the right-hand side. A couple of paces and bang. I just let one go and what a feeling to see it fly into the top corner.

On the ball: The Leeds great speaks to Sportsmail

On the ball: The Leeds great speaks to Sportsmail

It was a huge relief, as well, because it meant we had an all-important away goal. Barcelona had to score twice, just to take it to extra time, and that wasn't going to happen. No-one got two goals back on Leeds United in those days.

They got one and applied a bit of pressure near the end, but even that was only because we gave them a helping hand by losing Gordon McQueen to a straight red card. Had Gordon stayed on, we would have won on the night, just as we had at Elland Road, but we'd still done enough to go through 3-2 on aggregate.

Scoring twice is the minimum requirement for Barcelona at the Nou Camp tonight and there is no reason why Chelsea cannot prove just as much a thorn in their side as we were back in 1975, provided they adopt the same strong-minded, positive approach.

They put down a marker at Stamford Bridge last week, with a performance and result that underlined my long-held belief that playing the first leg at home can actually work in your favour. It's a chance to get your noses in front and establish a psychological edge.

Head boy: Joe Jordan heads on against the Spanish giants

Head boy: Joe Jordan heads on against the Spanish giants

Like Chelsea, we were rated second favourites against a side who were not only feared throughout Europe but spearheaded by a player widely acknowledged as the best in the world. For Lionel Messi, read Johan Cruyff.

The word fear never figured in our vocabulary, though, and while we had the utmost respect for the likes of Cruyff and Johan Neeskens, we were not the least bit intimidated by them.

We believed that performances win games, not reputations, and we backed ourselves to get the better of Barcelona simply by sticking to the style of play that had brought us the Division One title in the first place.

There is nothing worse than losing when you haven't played the way you want to and there was no way we were changing our approach for anyone.

Finding his feet: David Stewart stops Johan Neeskens

Finding his feet: David Stewart stops Johan Neeskens

On these big occasions, it's how you cope with the pressure and atmosphere. You can play to your maximum or freeze and there was only ever going to be one outcome for us, with so many strong characters right through the team.

We weren't the least bit cowed by Barcelona's reputation and that was evident from the plan we took into the first game.

There was never any question of detailing someone to shadow Cruyff all over the pitch, but as soon as Barcelona got the ball anywhere near our half, we were on to him. Whether it be Norman Hunter, Big Jack (Charlton) or Paul Madeley, it didn't matter. Nearest man would get tight on him so that, if the ball was played to him, he had no space to turn and run at us.

It's half the battle in these big games, if you can shackle the danger men, and we always looked the likelier winners of the first leg.

Dutch of class: Trevor Cherry tackles Johan Cruyff

Dutch of class: Trevor Cherry tackles Johan Cruyff

Eddie Gray had a field day down the left and Big Joe won headers to set up our goals for Billy Bremner and Allan Clarke. There was an equaliser in between, with Paul Reaney harshly penalised for a free-kick they scored from.

But we had shown how being at home first can be an advantage. We thought we were the better side going into that Elland Road game. By the time it finished, we knew it.

It's a chance to do some damage and that is exactly what Chelsea did. Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta are the three who make the current Barcelona side tick, but there are one or two average players in among them who are scarcely world-beaters.

In particular, they are susceptible at the back, just like their predecessors from the Seventies.

I watch Barcelona a lot and love the way they play, but they are not the biggest. I always thought Didier Drogba could get among them and cause problems and so it proved.

It's a slender lead, just like ours all those years ago, but with a similar show of character in that vast stadium I can see Chelsea following in our footsteps, through to the final.

Bradford 16 Wigan 54: Richards stars as Warriors crush Bulls

Bradford 16 Wigan 54: Richards stars as Warriors crush Bulls

Wigan winger Pat Richards produced a 16-point haul to overtake Frano Botica on the club's all-time points-scoring chart as the Warriors cruised to victory over struggling Bradford at Odsal.

The 2010 Man of Steel scored one of his side's 10 tries and kicked six goals from eight attempts to take his points tally for the club to 1,943, edging him in front of Botica, with only Jim Sullivan and Andy Farrell now in front of him.

It was all too easy for the Warriors, with Darrell Goulding, Josh Charnley, Liam Farrell and Chris Tuson all taking advantage of a weak Bradford defence to score two tries piece.

Pat on the back: Richards scored 16 points for Warriors

Pat on the back: Richards scored 16 points for Warriors

The Bulls, who gave debuts to centre Keith Lulia and prop forward Phil Joseph, suffered a major blow when they lost goalkicking half-back Luke Gale with ankle ligament damage only nine minutes into the game and they found themselves trailing 16-0 after 22 minutes.

Full-back Sam Tomkins, a constant thorn in Bradford's side, did the early damage, joining the line and helped create an overlap for Goulding to send his winger Charnley over for the game's first try.

When stand-off Brett Finch carved out a simple touchdown for Richards and second rower Gareth Hock sidestepped past full-back Brett Kearney for a third try, the game looked to be over.

But Bradford left-winger Jason Crookes stopped the rot when he touched down Kearney's pinpoint kick to the corner on 29 minutes.

Former Crusaders half-back Jarrod Sammut, jeered by the Bulls fans after twice failing to find touch with penalty kicks, made amends by landing the touchline conversion and then brought the crowd to its feet with an 80-metre breakaway try, pouncing on a loose pass from Tomkins and accelerating away.

That made it 16-10 but Bradford undid much of their good work by conceding a sloppy try to Wigan substitute Chris Tuson, who forced his way over from close range four minutes before half-time.

Richards' third goal made it 22-10 and Wigan ran in five more tries in the third quarter to put the result beyond doubt.

They extended their lead within 90 seconds of the restart when Goulding made the most of some soft tackling to open his account for the season before Tuson took Finch's defence-splitting pass to wrongfoot Kearney for his second try.

A touchline break from Richards set up the position for Tuson to send fellow back rower Liam Farrell and, with the winger clearly winded by his efforts, Tomkins kicked the conversion.

It was all too easy for the Warriors as Goulding and Charnley both scored their second tries, Bradford pulled a try back through Kearney, one of their better players, and Sammut kicked a second goal but Richards fittingly had the final say when he broke clear to send Farrell over for his second try and kicked his sixth conversion.

Harry Redknapp fears Thierry Henry will inspire Arsenal title bid

Not you again! Redknapp fears Spurs' scourge Henry will inspire Arsenal title bid

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has admitted that he fears Thierry Henry's goal on his second Arsenal debut will be just the tonic the Gunners need to ignite a challenge for the title.

Arsenal currently sit six points adrift of third-placed Spurs – who also have a game in hand on their north London rivals – but Redknapp is wary of the effect Henry could have at the club during his two-month loan.

Back in town: Henry scored on his return to Arsenal

Back in town: Henry scored on his return to Arsenal

Redknapp said: 'I knew Henry would score: some things are meant to happen. I hope he doesn’t make too much of an impact because we want to finish above Arsenal, but he will have some impact.'

Henry's homecoming came just over 24 hours after Paul Scholes made a similar return for Manchester United, and Redknapp lauded the impact that experienced players such as Henry, 34, and Scholes, 37, can have on the clubs they play for.

He said: 'It’s a bit scary when you look around and see players like Henry and Scholes, and they’re still better than some of the younger players.

Scourge: Henry was a thorn in Tottenham's side for years

Scourge: Henry was a thorn in Tottenham's side for years

'Players like that make a difference just when they walk into the club. They’re worth their weight in gold, because you can’t beat that. It’s about what people can bring to your club, not just what they do on a Saturday. We had that with Scott Parker.

'Henry and Scholes are good professionals with good habits. Youngsters can learn more from them than they can from any coaches. There are still a lot of good old ‘uns around who make the difference. You can’t give experience and quality to people and both Scholes and Henry are full of both.'

But despite Redknapp's fears, Henry played down the impact he can have during the two months of his loan spell from New York Red Bulls, insisting that things won't always go as smoothly as they did against Leeds.

Dream return: Henry slides the ball past Leeds keeper Andy Lonergan

Dream return: Henry slides the ball past Leeds keeper Andy Lonergan

He said: 'I know I scored but that will not happen every time I play. I’m going to try to bring what I can. Maybe another time it won’t be enough but I will always try my best.

'I didn’t plan a comeback. I didn’t plan to come on, I didn’t plan to score! Well, maybe I did!

'But joking apart, I never thought I was going to be here, talking to you after a game so scoring a winner for the club that I love, I am actually dreaming right now. I hope I won’t wake up tomorrow and someone tells me that it was a dream.'

Coventry 1 Southampton 2: Sky Blues dumped out by youthful Saints side

Coventry 1 Southampton 2: Sky Blues dumped out by youthful Saints side

Coventry were dumped out of the FA Cup by Southampton on an afternoon at the Ricoh Arena where just as much attention focused on matters off the pitch as it did on it.

Gary McSheffrey half-volleyed City into the lead after just five minutes, an early opener which was missed by around 200 or more protesting Sky Blues fans who had gathered outside.

It was a peaceful demonstration aimed at under-fire owners SISU, calling on fans to show their support in favour of a change of ownership at the cash-strapped club between 2.45 and 3.15, with around 30 fans boycotting the third round tie entirely by remaining outside.

One for the future: James Ward-Prowse, a product of Southampton's prestigious youth academy, put Saints level

One for the future: James Ward-Prowse, a product of Southampton's prestigious youth academy, put Saints level

MATCH FACTS

Coventry: Dunn, Christie, Keogh, Cranie, Wood (Hussey 78), Deegan, Thomas, Bigirimana (Ruffels 83), Baker, O'Donovan (Jeffers 65), McSheffrey. Subs not used: Murphy, McPake, Clarke.

Booked: Cranie.

Scorer: McSheffrey 5.

Southampton: Bialkowski, Harding (Stephens 87), Martin, Hooiveld, Cork, Ward-Prowse (Reeves 72), Schneiderlin, Hammond, Fox, Lallana, Doble (Hoskins 59). Subs not used: Davis, Forte, Holmes, Shaw.

Scorers: Ward-Prowse 64, Martin 82.

Referee: Colin Webster.

Attendance: 9,000.

Yet those present inside, an
attendance of 9,000 which included 1,700 in the away end, were present
to see 17-year-old midfielder James Ward-Prowse level shortly after the
hour mark for a youthful Saints side.

And, just as a replay was rightfully
looking on the cards, defender Aaron Martin headed home an 82nd-minute
winner to book Southampton's place in the fourth round draw.

It was, however, a much closer affair
than a glance at the npower Championship table would have suggested as
top edged past bottom.

Coventry boss Andy Thorn made four
changes to his XI, most notably top scorer Lukas Jutkiewicz – heavily
linked with a January switch to hometown club Southampton – missing out
due to a back injury.

Saints, minus suspended 17-goal
striker Rickie Lambert, brought in five new faces, youngsters
Ward-Prowse and Ryan Doble among those coming in.

But it was incoming goalkeeper
Bartosz Bialkowski who proved his worth after just four minutes as he
denied City striker Roy O'Donovan when clean through.

Yet the Sky Blues – donning a
1987-inspired replica kit to mark the 25th anniversary of their famous
Wembley triumph over Tottenham – were not to be denied for much longer.

Red hot: Southampton celebrate the winner

Red hot: Southampton celebrate the winner

Cyrus Christie sent in a cross from
the right and, with Saints appealing for a foul, Gael Bigirimana's
header set up McSheffrey and he half-volleyed home from 12 yards.

Coventry remained in control as the
majority of protesters outside started to filter into the stands, just
in time to see Richard Wood head over from McSheffrey's corner.

Morgan Schneiderlin fired narrowly
wide in the 35th minute as Southampton offered a rare threat in the
final third, while Coventry's Gary Deegan was denied by Bialkowski
towards the end of an ordinary first half.

City keeper Chris Dunn was called
upon to make his first real save within 60 seconds of a frantic start to
the second half as he denied Ward-Prowse.

But the lively youngster made no
mistake from close range in the 64th minute as he converted a cross from
former Coventry full-back Danny Fox.

Dan Harding volleyed an effort inches
wide moments later before Carl Baker drilled just over at the other end
as both sides went in search of a winner.

And it went Southampton's way eight
minutes from time as Martin met Fox's outswinging corner and his header
squirmed over the line despite the best efforts of Dunn.