When Callum O’Hare paraded around the streets wearing a sky blue wig belting out ‘Pump it Up’ to celebrate City’s promotion to the Championship, that certainly got us all hoping that he would join the club on a permanent basis. The 22-year-old more than proved his worth during a successful loan spell in what turned out to be a very successful 2019/20 campaign, and fans were desperate to see the creative midfielder stay for next season.
The possibility of that increased when it was announced that Aston Villa decided not to offer him a fresh contract, but there’s absolutely no question that he would’ve had other potential suitors vying for his signature. Given that fact, it’s some statement of intent that Mark Robins has managed to land him on a three-year deal, and our midfield is looking increasingly healthy.Embed from Getty Images
Gustavo Hamer has already been drafted in and Jamie Allen will be itching to nail down a place in the starting 11 and continue impressing as he did upon his return from injury back in November 2019. Liam Kelly was also outstanding in a deeper role and his leadership qualities are there for all to see, while Zain Westbrooke has showcased his quality as well, alongside the versatile figure of Jordan Shipley.
There are also a few younger prospects who will be determined to knock on the door as well, with the likes of Josh Eccles and Jonny Ngandu catching the eye at youth level. Of course there are no certainties in football, but I’m very confident the manager will have a few headaches across the course of the club’s first shot at the Championship since 2012. Competition is key, and it’s encouraging to see the squad taking shape already.Embed from Getty Images
However, the second tier is a completely different beast to League One. While the feel-good factor is flowing around Coventry City at the moment, we can’t get ahead of ourselves. O’Hare is a fantastic acquisition and I fully believe he will be key in unlocking opposition defences for us, but if for whatever reason he doesn’t start like a house on fire, we have to be patient.
He is still a young player who is eager to learn, and there is no denying that he’s at a very good place to do just that. Carlisle United reaped the benefits from having the midfielder around in League Two and he was excellent for the Sky Blues in League One, but he isn’t proven in the Championship yet. All we do know is that it will be interesting to see him navigate the different challenges having made the step up a division, and he has every capability to blossom.
One of the major plus points as that he already knows what the club are about and that the staff trust in his abilities. It’s not always easy to turn a loanee into a permanent fixture as we’ve seen with Liam Walsh, but Villa’s loss is our gain. Hopefully we will be squaring off with them next season and he can pop up with a goal or two against them, but it’s brilliant business from the Sky Blues nonetheless.