Date: 22nd December 2011 at 11:37am
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Coventry City head into the holiday period knowing that they are almost in the last-chance saloon already as far as their Championship status is concerned.

Bottom at Christmas, well adrift of safety and struggling at both ends of the pitch as well as off it, the Sky Blues must take at least four points from home games against Bristol City and Brighton & Hove Albion to give themselves any chance of survival, especially as 2012 starts with a trip to a sold-out Upton Park to face West Ham United.

The loss of Sammy Clingan to injury has been compounded by Aston Villa’s decision to recall Gary Gardner from his loan spell as Andy Thorn’s task, likened by the manager to swimming the channel with a gas stove on his back, becomes harder still.

At least he still has the backing of his players if Chris Hussey’s comments are a guide. The defender told the CT: ‘I urge the board to stick with Thorny – the results might not show it but he’s a really good manager.’

Boxing Day fixtures usually attract a healthier than normal crowd as families venture out of the house to the game but sadly there is little incentive for the casual fan to come to the Ricoh Arena this festive season and help generate a decent atmosphere.

Bristol City currently lie just above the relegation zone and have looked to the goalscoring talent of Nicky Maynard to keep them afloat this season.

However with contract talks having broken down he is available for transfer as from January. Whether manager Derek McInnes opts to play him in the meantime remains to be seen but with 7 goals to his name already the Leicester City target is clearly the danger man.