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FA Cup fourth round: Coventry City ready to host stadium landlords Birmingham City

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A crowd of 2,693 watched Coventry City’s FA Cup third-round replay win over Bristol Rovers at St Andrew’s
FA Cup fourth round
Dates: 24-27 January Coverage: Brentford v Leicester City live on BBC One on Saturday, 25 January (12:45 GMT) – as well as Manchester City v Fulham on Sunday, 26 January (13:00) and Shrewsbury Town v Liverpool (17:00)

“We’ve got some horrible infighting between our own supporters. Some are called scabs. I have seen it break families apart.”

Dave Eyles is talking about League One Coventry City’s groundshare 22 miles away at Championship club Birmingham City. It is a topic which has fractured the Sky Blues fanbase since they left the Ricoh Arena last summer.

On Saturday, thanks to the FA Cup fourth-round draw, tenants Coventry are ‘home’ to landlords Birmingham at St Andrew’s.

Eyles, chairman of the Sky Blues Trust, an independent supporters’ group which represents more than 2,700 members, will not be there.

While some supporters have not missed a home game all season, others are refusing to attend until Coventry return to the city.

“I’ve been a season ticket-holder for 25 years but I don’t believe in supporting the club in any move that takes us outside the city,” Eyles told BBC Sport. “It’s heart-wrenching to see.”

Coventry made the move after owner Sisu, the London-based hedge fund, failed to agree a deal with rugby union Premiership club Wasps, who own the Ricoh Arena. The 1987 FA Cup winners had no option but to agree a second groundshare in six years or face expulsion from the Football League.

Two sides of St Andrew’s are closed at Sky Blues home games. The club’s average attendance has plummeted from 12,362 last season to just 6,219. Yet despite the upheaval, Mark Robins’ side are fourth in League One.

“Fans just want to get back to following football,” Eyles said. “This season, the product on the pitch is fantastic. Mark Robins is doing a great job and the team is playing cracking football.

“If we were in Coventry, we’d probably have 12,000-15,000 people turning up every game. Because of our situation, the average is under 7,000.”

‘We go because it’s been a family tradition since 1968’

With the fans split over whether to keep on following Coventry in exile, the Sky Blues Trust