Striker might be sold over manager's head

Coventry City manager Andy Thorn desperately wants to keep his star striker Lukas Jutkiewicz despite reports that both Southampton and Middlesbrough are trying to sign City's top scorer.

Thorn wants to keep Jutkiewicz at The Ricoh, but knows that the decision to keep or to sell will not be his and will be taken by the board of the club under instructions from owners SISU.

The 22 year old, Southampton born striker is attracting attention from the two Championship clubs and the saints are rumoured to be wanting to take Jutkiewicz on on loan before Thursday with a view to signing him permanently in January.

Middlesbrough tried to sign him on the last day of the summer transfer window, but had a 'substantial' offer rejected by City chairman Ken Dulieu or fell through due to the Matty Bates deal to Swansea not going through depending on who you believe.

With two years left to run on his Coventry City contract, a fee of £3m has been suggested, but many analysts value him at between £2-£3m.

Coventry City face a two fold problem at the moment. First they have a small squad made up of a few experienced senior players, a few younger players and some Academy graduates who lack experience. They can ill afford to lose one of their better players especially as they did not replace any of their senior players who left the club during the summer.

Secondly that do not have the funds to strengthen the squad, either to buy a player or to pay competitive wages. They are also struggling in the Championship which makes the club an unattractive proposition to potential new signings.

The catch 22 situation is further exacerbated by falling revenue with falling attendances hitting gate receipts. The fans are staying away because of the lack of success and entertainment, but until they return to the fold Thorn will have less and less money to spend.

The club will undoubtedly face a massive backlash from already disgruntled fans should they decide to cash in on selling Jutkiewicz, who scored his seventh goal of the season when he grabbed the equaliser against Cardiff last night.

Whether Sisu or the board will care take note of the fans concerns and not sell Jutkiewicz, or if they cannot see further than the £2-3M windfall, remains to be seen.

Thorn said to the CT: "I don't know what's going to happen, whatever happens I'll have to deal with. Managers now, I think across the game, don't dictate who goes in and out of clubs. They can have their opinion but it doesn't matter.

"We've had a lot of hurdles and obstacles put in front of us this year and we've blooded a lot of young boys into the team, they're a credit to the football club.

"I would love to keep Jutkiewicz, absolutely, but, as I said, I think the game is decided elsewhere when it comes to who stays and who doesn't. I've got to get on with whatever happens, that's not me bleating, that's how it is unfortunately."