Coventry City cruised to probably their most comfortable victory of the season on Saturday, Marc McNulty netting a hat-trick as the Sky Blues eased past struggling Grimsby by four goals to nil at the Ricoh Arena, keeping alive automatic promotion hopes at the same time as strengthening their play-off place.
Mark Robins deserves huge credit for keeping his players believing after a potentially fatal run of poor form earlier in the year and for gradually evolving his team while maintaining the stability that they have had right from the beginning of the campaign.
A look at the starting XI from the opening game of the season, the 3-0 win against Notts County, shows the following.
O’Brien, Grimmer, Hyam, McDonald, Stokes, Doyle, Kelly, Jones, Vincenti, McNulty, Beavon
Saturday`s team to take the pitch in CV6 was as follows.
Burge, Grimmer, Hyam, McDonald, Haynes, Bayliss, Doyle, Shipley, Vincenti, McNulty, Clarke-Harris
The template has remained the same for much of the campaign, the defensive stability provided by Grimmer and McDonald, Doyle the key man on and off the field and two forwards.
Ben Stevenson and the Kelly-Evans twins were on the bench for the Notts County game but it is Bayliss and Shipley who have emerged from the ranks of younger players to slot into the team ahead of Liam Kelly and in place of the injured Jodi Jones.
Both Ryan Haynes and, more recently, Peter Vincenti have taken their chance when it has arisen while the deadline signing of Jonson Clarke-Harris has provided McNulty with his ideal partner and proven to be the missing piece of the jigsaw.