Coventry City manager Mark Robins has described his team’s play-off final against Luton Town as a “game for the romantics” given both sides' recent rise up the football pyramid.
The Sky Blues are on the verge of a dream promotion back into the promised land of the Premier League after a long spell of over 20 years without top-flight football.
In that time away from the top-flight Coventry fans have endured a number of high-profile lows both on and off the pitch, including a relegation to League 2 and a commute to Birmingham and Northampton to watch their team play at home.
Even as recently as October the West Midlands club were being tipped for relegation to League 1.
Robins has been with the club every step of the way from the high and the lows but when did Coventry City last play in the Premier League and why has their recent rise been such a surprise to football experts?
Here is everything you need to know.
When did Coventry City last play in the Premier League?
Coventry City were one of the 22 teams that participated in the inaugural Premier League season in 1992/93.
For the majority of the 1990s the Sky Blues were a solid mid-table team and some of their most notable players include Dion Dublin, Gary McAlister and Brian Borrows.
Coventry narrowly avoided relegation in 1996/97 with a 17th place finish after a combination of a three point deduction for Middlesborough and a mid-season revival from manager Gordon Strachan.
Coventry’s run in the top-flight came to an end four years later in the 2000/01 campaign and the Sky Blues were relegated in 19th position with a points tally of 34 from 38 games.
They were joined in the relegation places by Bradford City and Manchester City.
Coventry’s fall from the top flight
Coventry City were consistently part of the top-flight for 34 years but they experienced a huge fall from grace after their relegation to the Championship.
Coventry experienced a season of instability in the Championship in 2001/02 with the likes of Gordon Strachan, Roland Nilsson and Gary McAlilister all taking charge of the club during an 11th place finish.
Several managers followed over the next decade but Coventry spent the majority of their time looking over their shoulders at the relegation places and they recorded just three top half finishes in the next decade, whilst also failing to ever reach the play-off positions.
Coventry suffered further relegation in the 2011/12 and fell to the third tier of English football for the first time since 1964.
Coventry’s struggles continued as they entered League One and in March 2013 their hopes of a play-off push were ended by a 10 point deduction as the club entered administration.
Things went from bad to worse the following campaign as they were handed their second 10 points deduction. The club were also forced to play their home games at Northampton’s Sixfield Stadium after a renting dispute with the Ricoh owners Arena Coventry LTD.
This move saw fans travel 34 miles extra to attend match days and caused widespread backlash from the club's supporters.
This move lasted for the entirety of the 2013/14 campaign and Coventry were relegated to the fourth tier of English football just three seasons later during the 2016/17 campaign.
Coventry’s rise back to the Championship
Coventry’s current manager Mark Robins has been with the team for a number of highs and lows and he returned for a second spell at the end of the 2016/17 season as the club suffered a disastrous relegation to League Two for the first time in 58 years.
The ex Manchester United striker spearheaded the club to a promotion via the play-offs in the 2017/18 campaign with a 3-1 victory over Exeter City.
The promotion saw them join fellow play-off finalists Luton Town in the third tier of English football.
Coventry continued their rise up the league under Robins two seasons later by lifting the League One title in 2019/20 but the season was also clouded by controversy as the club was again forced to share grounds, this time with Birmingham City.
Coventry returned to their traditional home in the newly named Coventry Building Society Arena and recorded two consecutive mid table finishes in the second tier.
However, problems again started to resurface at the start of the season and Coventry’s first three home games were all postponed due to the state of the pitch.
Coventry were tipped for relegation in the early parts of the season and they entered October bottom of the league table.
Robins has since engineered an incredible rise up the league table and Coventry have lost just two of their last 19 games since the start of February to reach the play-off final.
Goalkeeper Ben Wilson and leading goalscorer Viktor Gyokeres are amongst those to receive heavy praise for their performances this season and both secure their spot in the Championship team of the season.
The Sky Blues earned their spot in the final with a narrow 1-0 aggregate victory over Middlesbrough and they now face the challenge of defeating a Luton Town which has only lost nine of their lost 48 games in the Championship.