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Football: ROBBO'S EYEING A SKY BLUE REPEAT; EXCLUSIVE: PAUL HAS COVENTRY IN SIGHTS ONCE MORE...

Byline: By GRAHAM HILL

PAUL Robinson will be a marked man on Tuesday night at The Hawthorns - because the Albion defender cannot stop scoring against Coventry City.

Sky Blues will be looking for revenge against Baggies after Tony Mowbray's men hammered Coventry 4-0 just three weeks ago.

And with Robinson in top form for Albion, Coventry may be cursing the Football League computer for matching them up with their Midlands rivals so soon.

Robinson has put a spell on Coventry over the last year, finding the net every time he has played against them.

And apart from one Premier League goal against Aston Villa, Robinson has not scored against anyone else, which means Sky Blues will be on their guard against the whole-hearted left-back and his unlikely sequence of goals from defence.

Robinson was on the mark last December with the final goal in a convincing 5-0 win over Coventry at The Hawthorns that had Albion supporters singing 'You Should Have Gone Christmas Shopping' to the travelling fans.

Then Robinson was on the mark in a vital 1-0 victory at the Ricoh Arena that propelled Albion towards the May play-offs.

Coventry must have been wishing Robinson had completed his on-off move to Wigan in the summer as he returned to the Ricoh last month to provide a superb opening goal as Baggies blitzed Dowie's men with superb second half display.

That was also a game that saw City's top scorer Michael Mifsud sent off for an elbow on Carl Hoefkens.

Ironically, the Malta striker completes his three-match ban just in time to play in the return at Albion.

But Robinson hopes Sky Blues will be so busy concentrating on stopping him grabbing more goals that they will allow others to find their way onto the scoresheet.

"It's funny how I keep scoring against Coventry when I don't get any against other clubs," admitted Robinson.

"The lads are always having a go at me and saying I should score more, but for some reason when I play against the Sky Blues it always seems to happen.

"I hope it works out again on Tuesday but you can take nothing for granted. If they want to stick an extra man on me and see me as a danger then that's fine by me. It frees up another one of our quality players.

"The goals I've scored against Coventry have always meant something to me. When I scored at The Hawthorns last season it was my first at home for Albion and it was in front of the Birmingham Road End. Then when I scored the winner at Coventry last April it helped us towards the play-offs.

"And when I found the net at the Ricoh Arena a few weeks ago, it was the first goal of the game and set us up for a 4-0 win. It was also my first goal for Albion with my foot, all the rest have been headers. You don't expect left-backs to get that many goals but it's nice to pop up with a few every season, so far though it only seems to go right for me in the matches with Coventry."

Robinson has his sights firmly set on taking over from his former club Watford at the top of the Championship.

Aidy Boothroyd's side looked to be running away with the title for a while, but they got the jitters last month and Albion sense they can overhaul them eventually.

"We're playing with confidence at the moment and our next target is to be top of the table and then to win the league, that's what we want," he said.

"Everything's going to plan at the moment, but there's no over-confidence in this side. Nobody goes around acting like they're a world-beater but we know we're capable of winning games."

Robinson has never given less than 100 per cent this season as he aims to make up for the disappointment of losing out to Derby in last season's play-off final.

But with the 28-year-old lining up his 17th consecutive Championship start at Crystal Palace yesterday, talk of a move to Wigan failing due to fitness concerns remain baffling.

"When there's a question mark over your fitness, it just makes you even more determined to go out there and shut people up," said Robinson.

"I personally feel I'm in good form, but that can be said of the rest of the team as well.

"I've been teaming up well with Chris Brunt on the left as well, he gives us an extra dimension and he's a quality player.

"But I think what we've also shown this week is that we have a good squad here too. People have looked at our injury list and seen Kevin Phillips and Ishmael Miller out. So they think we aren't going to get goals, but then Roman Bednar comes in against Plymouth and scores two quality goals.

This game is all about taking your chances when you get them and Roman did just that. It just shows that we are still a strong side even when we have injuries to key players."

Robinson also played down suggestions that Mifsud's return to the Coventry side might cause more bad feeling.

Mifsud was shown a straight red card by referee Phil Dowd after a bad challenge on Hoefkens at the Ricoh but Robinson says it is time to lay that incident to rest.

"We all have to start with a clean slate and not dwell on what happened," he said.

"He's served a three-match ban and he'll just be wanting to concentrate on his game and getting back to form while we'll be thinking of nothing but getting three more points.

"At Coventry we hadn't played too well before half-time. But we always stick together as a team and that performance was great for us in the end."

CAPTION(S):

GOAL-DEN BOY: Paul Robinson celebrates his last goal at the Ricoh Arena; RIDE ON: Paul Robinson hopes his streak will continue
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Dec 2, 2007
Words:1000
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