Coventry City right-back Andrew Whing is in contention for a place in the Sky Blues' crunch clash against bottom club Southend United tomorrow after being recalled early from his loan spell at League One outfit Brighton.

Whing's three-month loan was not due to end until early in the New Year. But he has been brought back by under-pressure Coventry manager Micky Adams in an attempt to help plug the leaks that have suddenly sprung in defence.

Coventry have shipped ten goals in suffering three successive defeats. Whing has been brought back from duty for a Brighton team that is also struggling, having won only twice in eight games.

Skipper Robert Page is also ready to return from a two-match absence, due to a combination of suspension and father-hood. That means Coven-try's defence looks like being significantly altered in an attempt to handle the seemingly lone threat of Freddy Eastwood, who has scored seven of South-end's 18 league goals.

But Sky Blues assistant manager Adrian Heath says that part of the problem is that the defenders have been put under added pressure by the failure of the strikers to score.

"It's pretty clear we can't keep missing good early chances," Heath said. "As soon as we miss opportunities we begin to look apprehensive.

"Everybody is really down at the moment.

"A few weeks ago we had one of the tightest defences in the division but we'll all stick together and look to get a result against Southend."

As to the question of who keeps goal tomorrow, that seems to depend on whether Adams opts to stick with Andy Marshall, even though he needs an operation, or go with Luke Steele, who made a dramatic return to Coventry on loan from West Bromwich Albion two days before Christmas.

Steele's deal, on a seven-day loan, was not finalised until Saturday morning, in time for Sky Blues' match at Luton.

But Steele also sustained a knee injury, a nasty gash following a first-half clash with home striker Dean Morgan.

Steele should recover and keep goal against Southend. But his loan then runs out and Marshall still needs an operation. As to what will happen after that in the goalkeeper department seems about as clear as Adams' own future.