Hamer on Coventry hopes and play-off dream

11 May 2023 0 By Total Football News

Gustavo Hamer won't be drawn on whether or not he's given himself the chance to dream of Wembley yet.

"You'll know my answer," the Coventry midfielder tells Sky Sports with a grin.

"In my head I have some ideas. But I don't want to jinx things."

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In many ways, Coventry shouldn't be here. Turmoil is second nature to the club. Nearly first nature, really.

A season that starts with a side unable to play games at home should not end in the Championship play-offs.

They were bottom in October. And didn't make it into the top six at the end of any round of games until late April. It has been some rise for a club who were in League Two as recently as 2018.

"I've got a couple of friends who are massive Coventry fans," says Hamer, who joined the club in 2020 following their promotion to the Championship. "You hear people on the golf course or wherever screaming your name, saying, 'Gus, get us back to the Premier League!'

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"But they're so proud. The club has gone from League Two to the Championship, and now to the play-offs. It's historic.

"I don't want to say too much. I'm just a person and I don't want to know all the little bits going on. I just want to focus on my football and my games. That's why people come to the stadium.

"But you see this season, we couldn't play games at home because of the pitch at the start. That was pretty annoying and frustrating, and I can't lie about that.

"But we came back and I'm really proud of the team."

Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Coventry City.

And Coventry would not be there without Hamer. The 25-year-old has proven so integral to his side that in the same week he was named Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for April, he also picked up his second consecutive Player of the Year award from the club.

When you consider that his team-mate Viktor Gyokeres scored 21 goals and provided 10 assists, more goal involvements than any other player in the Championship this season, it shows how much he is valued by his club.

Hamer, who was born in Brazil but adopted and raised in the Netherlands, is relaxed - almost nonchalant - about his achievements and how far he has come.

"Sometimes you forget you're a football player," he says. "I see myself as Gus. I'm just normal. I always take time for fans, take a photo, answer their questions. Being humble is important.

"When you're on the pitch and they're screaming your name it can be amazing to think how you've got there. Unreal at times when you look back at your career and realise how far you've come and what you've achieved.

"Sometimes you think about the past. But I'm still in progress. I still want to get higher up. You think back, but also make sure you're looking to the future."

In the immediate future for Coventry is the play-off semi-final tie with Middlesbrough. Fifth versus fourth.

It is set to be some encounter, and one that is tough to call. When the two sides met in early October at the CBS Arena it was 24th versus 22nd. The win was Coventry's first of 2022/23 at the eighth time of asking.

Their second meeting came just a few days ago, when Middlesbrough had already booked their play-off place and Coventry only needed a point to do the same.

Seeing these two sides at full strength, playing at full pelt in top form, will be some sight.

"We're playing each other three times in two weeks, so it'll be interesting to see who wins that battle," says Hamer.

"We want to get it done, but sometimes that's not possible. If we don't make it we can still say we did all we could, and no one will hate us for losing the game.

"It relieves the pressure a bit. But you still want to play with a bit of pressure. Getting to the play-offs is what you want if you're in the Championship."

Considering Coventry and Hamer have defied the odds to get this far, you wouldn't bet against them going that little bit further.

Follow the Championship play-offs with Sky

You can follow all of the Sky Bet Championship play-off matches live across Sky Sports.

Semi-final first legs

Saturday May 13, 5.30pm - Sunderland vs Luton

Sunday May 14, 12pm - Coventry vs Middlesbrough

Semi-final second legs

Tuesday May 16, 8pm - Luton vs Sunderland

Wednesday May 17, 8pm - Middlesbrough vs Coventry

Final

Saturday May 27, 4.45pm - Luton or Sunderland vs Middlesbrough or Coventry

Each match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Football, while there will be full digital coverage and free in-game clips on skysports.com.

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