Coventry City are some way short of Manager Aidy Boothroyd's aspiration to be the best team in the npower Championship - and that's not a pundit's view but the considered opinion of the Sky Blues boss himself.

City head into the new year lying seventh in the table, though just a fortnight ago they were fifth and only three points off second place.

In the meanwhile, however, three successive defeats - the last couple by the division's leading two teams, Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City - have been something of a reality check.

Boothroyd, as honest as he is positive, admits: "We are not yet a team that's ready for the top two, although that's where we want to be.

"We aspire to be at the top, the best team in the League, but two 2-0 defeats by the first and second teams in the division show that we're clearly not ready to be up there.

"Before those last three games though, we'd won three in a row and kept four successive clean sheets. So now we've got to make sure that we bounce back quickly.

"I'm looking forward to the next few games - this is the time when you find out about the people you work with, and I don't think we'll be found wanting."

Boothroyd will be urging his team to show that they have bouncebackability over the New Year weekend, when they entertain Ipswich Town then visit Barnsley.

Both opponents are in the bottom half of the table, unlike the teams that have recently got the better of the Sky Blues. Boothroyd's side have in fact not yet beaten any of the teams currently placed in the top six. Not that the Manager shows any sign of concern when that particular statistic is thrown at him.

"I can remember," he says, "doing a press conference in December 2005, when (as Watford Manager) I was asked the same question. We couldn't beat any of the top six then, but in the end we managed to get promotion by beating a team (Leeds United in the Play-Off Final) that were supposed to be far better than us.

"This Coventry team is growing and getting better all the time. We're going to have some setbacks, so although I'm disappointed after our last few results I'm not down or distraught - the aim is to be smiling at the end of the season.

"It's not where you are at the start of the season or even in the middle, it's where you are at the end. That's when we're all judged, that's when it goes in the almanacs."

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