With seven matches of the Greene King IPA Premiership season remaining, Coventry’s quest for a top half finish has been boosted by the arrival of loan signing Jamal Ford-Robinson from Northampton.
The 25-year-old prop who is able to operate on either side of the front row, will be at the Butts Park Arena until the end of the campaign.
Leicester academy product Ford-Robinson, who started his senior career at Cambridge, has gained substantial Championship and Premiership experience during the last four seasons, two of which were spent at Bristol prior to moving to Franklin’s Gardens in 2017.
In the same year he also earned an England call-up for the non-cap contest against the Barbarians and was then summoned to Argentina as injury cover during England’s successful two-match tour.
Cov’s squad has also been supplemented by the return of a second on-loan Saint in the shape of winger Tom Emery.
The pacy 20-year-old previously impressed the Blue-and-White faithful while scoring six tries in ten appearances including a hat-trick against Fylde during the club’s National One promotion run.
In a parallel arrangement Cov have agreed that Darren Dawidiuk will join Northampton on a loan basis to help them deal with a glut of injuries at hooker.
In addition, the club have confirmed that prop Nathanael Titchard-Jones and fly half Ben Palmer have been released to join Birmingham Moseley and Broadstreet respectively.
The absence of a league programme last weekend enabled a significant number of the Blue-and-Whites’ squad to overcome injury concerns.
As a consequence, Cov’s coaching group only expect to be without loose head prop James Gibbons (toe) and the unavailable Junior Bulumakau when Richmond visit the BPA on Saturday (3pm kick off).
Director of rugby Rowland Winter believes both the incoming Saints will add quality to his squad.
“Jamal plays on both sides of the scrum and has plenty of experience of the top flight and with England,” he said. “Saints also need a hooker at the moment, so with Dukey going there we’ve done a bit of a swap.
“Kwaku Asiedu has picked up tonsilitis, so unfortunately that thwarted our plan to bring him back from Cambridge and give him an opportunity while Junior is away.
“However, it has given us a chance to bring Tom back in from Northampton. He was outstanding when he was here before, scored loads of tries and we’re hoping he picks up where he left off.”
Cov have also this week loaned forwards Tom Jubb, Latu Makaafi and Scott Russell to Chinnor, while Jack Preece will play for Cinderford.
According to Winter, this move will ensure the wider squad remains in peak condition ahead of the closing weeks of the season.
“We’re in a strong position availability-wise, so we’ve put a few players out on loan to get some game time,” he said.
“They may have quite limited opportunities here over the next four or five weeks, so we’ve found them some minutes in National One. They will still train with us but then get a chance on a Saturday with Chinnor and Cinderford.”
Off the field Coventry have announced that head physio Hannah Walker will leave the club at the end of the season and that the recruitment of her replacement begins immediately.
Winter was quick to acknowledge her contribution over the last three seasons, which he described as a key element in the club’s shift towards a more professional approach.
“Hannah has been a really important part of our success on and off the pitch over the last three seasons,” he said.
“She deserves huge credit for taking a very poor medical set-up and developing the department to the standard it now is.
“Hannah has also worked hard with the development teams and the U18s to help grow the Coventry pathway whilst ensuring that we maintain standards at senior level.”
Hannah described her three years at Coventry as “an amazing time” and said she is proud of the part she has played.
“It’s time for a new challenge and to pursue other career opportunities,” she said.
“I am immensely proud of what we as a team have achieved and would like to thank Rowland, the club management, my team mates, colleagues and especially our fantastic supporters club and fans for their unwavering support in helping me improve the medical facilities and service we provide.
“Now, we focus on finishing this season strongly and getting the players in long term rehabilitation ready for next season.”
Advanced tickets for this Saturday’s IPA Greene King Championship clash with Richmond, preferentially priced at £18 (seated), £15 (standing) and £2 (ages three to 16) are available before 4pm on Friday from the Butts Park Arena ticket office on 02476 231001.
Entry without an advanced ticket is also available on the gate.