Coventry City 2 Sunderland 1
Micky Adams will have been well aware that Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce would have been sitting at home watching this game.
The Birmingham City boss has already made three bids for Sky Blues striker Gary McSheffrey and had all of them rebuffed. Another is believed to be in the offing and after the way this game was settled it could well be on the Ricoh Arena fax machine this morning.
McSheffrey pounced with 12 minutes remaining to score from a tight angle and bring a welcome three points against relegated Sunderland who had taken the lead just after half time. But if Bruce is hoping to hook the Coventry-born player, he might have to wait.
Adams said: "I only know what I read in the papers that a fourth bid is being prepared but Birmingham must get the gist. When we say that he is not for sale, they may realise that they will not get him.
"We have not received another bid since the one last week. He gets up and down, he gets shots and crosses in - we can't replace that and I am not thinking about it. This was a great start for us. Sunderland began by knocking the ball around but after the first five minutes they didn't really hurt us. We knew it would be very difficult and we were not disappointed in that.
"What I saw when we went behind really pleased me. I saw people who upped the tempo and at the end of the game I thought our fitness was fantastic."
Adams could have few complaints. Sunderland, fresh from their Premiership exploits and with reluctant boss Niall Quinn at the managerial helm, are expected to be among the pace setters in the Championship.
They moved the ball crisply and got men forward at every opportunity, but they also found Elliott Ward in commanding form.
When they did eventually take the lead, it was as much to do with Coventry's poor defending as Daryl Murphy's low shot which beat Andy Marshall.
Adams decided to change things in the 67th minute when Don Hutchison replaced Dele Adebola. The veteran striker added a touch of class and certainly he bought Stern John more into the game.
John was probably not expected to return to the Ricoh Area after his World Cup exploits, but Adams will be glad he did on this evidence. There looked little on when he collected a long ball forward from Marshallin the 70th minute, but he held up a defender well and then turned to curl a superb shot into the top corner of the net.
Suddenly it was Coventry, with Michael Doyle muscularly impressive in midfield, who were calling the shots and commanding the key areas. But if there was one person set to take the points, it was surely McSheffrey. Hutchison was prevented from taking a free kick from what referee Chris Foy saw as the wrong position, but instead he stole ten yards and put McSheffrey in.
He cut into the area and let fly with a shot which flew in with the aid of slight deflection. A sense of timing... that is priceless.
Scorers: Murphy 53 (0-1), John (70) 1-1, McSheffrey(78) 2-1.
COVENTRY CITY (4-4-2): Marshall; McNamee, Ward, Heath, Hall; Birchall (Thornton 73) Doyle, Hughes, McSheffrey (Whing 85); Adebola (Hutchison 67), John. Subs: Steele,,Tabb.
SUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Alnwick; Delap, Cunningham, Caldwell, Collins; Miller, Whitehead, Leadbitter(Kyle 79), Lawrence; S Elliott, Murphy (Stead 76). Subs: Ward, Wright, R Elliott.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside) Bookings: Coventry- Hughes (55, foul), Lawrence (64, foul)
Attendance: 22366 Coventry man of the match: Elliott Ward - superb debut.