Arsenal loanee Ben Sheaf has dropped out of the Coventry City starting lineup recently, after overcoming a minor hamstring injury.

Ben Sheaf with Coventry (ia Coentry City)
Ben Sheaf with Coventry (via Coventry City)

23-year-old Ben Sheaf was a regular in the Coventry City starting lineup for much of the season up until the end of January, but things have changed since the closure of the winter window.

Sheaf picked up a hamstring injury against Nottingham Forest on February 2nd, but it was only serious enough to keep him out for one game. After that, he returned to the squad and has featured on the bench in all four games since.

For the first two, he was an unused substitute, before coming off the bench in each of the last two games, but it’s not clear exactly what has changed.

Perhaps City boss Mark Robins is simply easing Sheaf back, but that seems a little unnecessary after a one-game absence. Maybe Sheaf needs to win his place back, but the team have only won one game in their last six since his injury.

So if they’re not performing better without him, but he still can’t make the starting lineup, that raises the possibility that he’s being left out for another reason.

We know Coventry City signed Sheaf on loan with an obligation to buy if certain conditions were met, but we don’t know what conditions those were. Maybe the Championship club will be obligated to buy him after a certain number of starts, and that’s why they’ve stopped giving them to him.

There’s no firm evidence to prove that’s the case, but it’s something to keep in mind for Coventry’s upcoming matches. Whatever the case may be, he’s having to settle for a bench role right now.