Micky Adams sends his Coventry City side out to play Leicester City tonight hoping that the Sky Blues' fans will stay supportive in the wake of prize asset Gary McSheffrey's £4million departure to Birmingham City.

After a summer of escalating hope at the Ricoh Arena, fuelled by Adams's expensive rebuilding of his squad, Coventry fans were starting to believe that their side could be a force in this division.

But, only ten days after McSheffrey inspired his side's opening-day 2-1 home win over Sunderland, and in the wake of two depressing away defeats, those same supporters feel like the rug has been swept from under their feet by the sale of their star player.

Adams, insistent that Coventry have got a great deal, is looking to the ones McSheffrey left behind to raise their game sufficiently to ensure that he is not missed.

"If people think we're a one-man team, it's up to the rest of the squad to show we're not," the Sky Blues boss said. "We've lost a good player but we've won games of football without Gary McSheffrey before

and we'll do so again. And this simply gives others on that left side an opportunity."

Adams also sees tonight's meeting with the Foxes as the perfect distraction.

"I know there's a lot of disappointed people out there," he said. "And I know the boys are aware of a certain amount of anger among the fans, but it's up to me to lift them. It's the M69 derby, it should be a cracking atmosphere and we need the fans to get behind us."

The Coventry boss says, even if he gets only a proportion of what looks way above market price to spend on new players, it might not take long before McSheffrey is history.

"This football club will be here a long time after Gary McSheffrey has gone and after I've gone," he said. "In three or four weeks' time, results may have picked up and the fans may have a new hero.

"It sometimes happens when teams lose their star player. Look at Chris Birchall when he joined us from Port Vale. He was their best player but they're flying without him."

Adams is adamant that the Blues' offer in the end was simply too good to turn down.

He said: "I was always very suspicious of this being the outcome from the moment I first got the phone call from Steve Bruce enquiring about Gary when we were in America.

"I always stated that every player has got his price and I never said he wasn't going anywhere as you just end up looking stupid but I think I've done my job, which is two-fold. To get results and to produce players.

"When I came into the club, Gary was worth £100,000. Now he's gone for £4 million and there's not many transfers between Championship clubs that have beaten that."

Adams, who will bring in Andrew Whing at right-back tonight in place of the injured David McNamee, has a string of early-season injuries, including McSheffrey's most obvious replacement Jay Tabb, as well as Stuart Giddings, Mikkel Bischoff, Wayne Andrews and Adam Virgo.

"My phone was red hot yesterday," he said. "Agents have got lots of attractive footballers who want to join Coventry City all of a sudden, but if people think I've got £4million to spend they're mistaken.

"If I don't improve the team before the close of the window, people would be very disappointed and I know a certain amount will have gone to the bank but our aims have not changed just because Gary has gone."