Doyle hoping that the winning “bug” spreads at Coventry

COVENTRY City captain Michael Doyle is hoping that the taste of success in this season’s League Two play-offs will spur the Sky Blues on to more in League One next season.

The Tallaght man, who skippered Portsmouth to the League Two title before his move to away from Fratton Park last season, led Coventry to promotion last week when they beat Exeter 3-1 in the play-off decider at Wembley Stadium.

Michael Doylefinal

Michael Doyle

Now the 36-year-old midfielder, who will remain on with the newly-promoted side for another season at least, is hoping that his side can build on his feat.

Speaking to Echo.ie, Doyle said: “When you start getting to play-offs and winning promotion you want more of it. It’s like a bug, and I just hope all our players feel that too.

“The club had been on a downward spiral for five or six years now, not being able to put a challenge together and then getting relegated from League One, so for us to achieve this is just massive.

“We had an open top bus there and the turnout was just unbelievable. Everyone was buzzing, everyone was just so proud and now we’ve got to build on that.

“We’ve given ourselves a good building block with this and now we have to push on. That’s the challenge for me and the club.

“It’s going to be an interesting summer. The challenge for us is to keep hold of our players, because right now there’s a lot of clubs watching some of them. But even if we do lose some, we have to replace them with good League One players.

“With the squad that we have now, and I mean this in no disrespect to those teams in League One, but I feel that we could have matched those teams in the League One Final, Rotherham or Shrewsbury,” he insisted.

Michael Doyle 1final

Joining a side that was relegated to the bottom tier of the league only last season, Doyle viewed their swift return to League One as most remarkable, explaining, “At the start of the season I thought we were capable of challenging for a place in the top two, but then we lost some crucial players over the course of the season and we had to bring in five or six young players.

“This was their first time playing first-team football and they played brilliantly.

“But there can be that honeymoon period for young players, for the first five or six weeks where, after that, they struggle to maintain that level. But fortunately for us they kept it going and we got the best out of them.

“It think the big thing that helped us was the good [FA] Cup run we went on, beating Milton Keynes and Stoke.

“That really served us well because the play-offs is like cup competition. The players were well equipped to deal with these high-pressure games and playing in front of big crowds.

“At half-time [in the Play-off Final] I felt that they [Exeter] were out on their feet. They were there for the taking, and it was great that we went out there in the second half and scored those three goals,” he said.

One season at a time

Delighted at triggering his own contract extension with the club, Doyle said, “At this stage in my career you take one season at a time. I had the option of another year with the club and that will kick in.

“I’ve lived around this area even when I played at Portsmouth, Leeds and Sheffield so it’s been like home to me. The club have been great and it’s important now that we build on this,” he stressed.

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