FOOTBALL: Barrett Knocking at the Front Door; SKY BLUES BIG MATCH PREVIEW: SKY BLUES V BURNLEY; HIGHFIELD ROAD TOMORROW, 3pm
Byline: By ANDY TURNER
SUCCESSIVE Coventry City managers have frustrated Graham Barrett by insisting on playing him in midfield.
But after getting a brief spell up front at Preston and almost grabbing a last-ditch equaliser, the Irish striker is hoping for a fresh start under Micky Adams.
"I feel I am playing all right and working hard and try to be a really good professional whether I am playing or not, so I can only do that and wait for a chance and take it," said the forward who has been limited to just 12 starts this season.
"I came on at Preston and felt I did well, and I should have scored to be honest. Winning headers is part of my game that I have improved on a lot. I climb well now and two years ago I wouldn't have been able to do that, so I am pleased with that.
"I was very pleased to come on up front. The gaffer spoke to me when he first came in and asked me where my best position is and I told him up front.
"I think I am a bit of an unknown quantity as far as the fans and press are concerned at Coventry. From day one I was always a striker but I have never played there. But to be fair to me I have got a good background as a striker and I want to get back playing there because I know what I can produce there.
"So it would be nice to win a place there but as well as that if the manager asks me to play any position I am going to do it, especially bearing in mind the league position we are in at the moment.
"I think everyone needs to be prepared to do whatever is necessary, but I would like to play as a striker."
The great paradox Barrett is trying to address is the fact that he continues to be picked and does well for his country and yet cannot establish himself at club level.
"Going away with Ireland keeps me going at times and to be fair I have done well for my country," said the player who was on the bench for Ireland's midweek victory over Portugal.
"I have got six caps and two goals in two starts, and done very well when I have been with the squad in training as well, so I know what level I can reach. In fairness, I haven't reached that level for Coventry yet and that is frustrating.
"But I don't think I have played more than three or four games in a row since I have been here, and I have only played one game up front and I scored in it, so that is an indication of what I can do, given the chance.
"I am happy to fight for my place and I won't be going moaning to the manager because I won't get anywhere that way. And if the manager decides he doesn't want me I can't hate a man for having an opinion. I have just got to keep my head down and believe in what I can do."
One of Barrett's three club goals this season came in the form of a delightful finish at Turf Moor against tomorrow's opponents, Burnley, who City ended up sharing the points with despite twice going in front.
"We took the lead up there against Burnley but ended up drawing so it will be another hard game," said the 23-year-old.
"Set pieces are really important in this league and we have got to improve on it because they haven't been good enough.
"If you look at the amount of goals going in from set pieces it is ridiculous. And that is not just the defenders. It means whoever is back there from set pieces.
"I am sure Burnley will come and sit here and try and hit us on the break. But they have done well to do what they have with such a small squad."
Adams is working on his set-piece agenda
MICKY ADAMS is hoping a few home truths have sunk in after he publicly questioned his players' commitment at Preston. …