STEPHEN Darby has no intention of surrendering his unbeaten record as City skipper tonight.

The Bantams make the long trek to Crawley, who have burst out the blocks with three straight wins – without conceding a goal.

City have started just as solidly with four points and a Capital One Cup victory as they hit the road for the third time in eight days.

They are yet to taste defeat since Darby inherited the captain's armband from Gary Jones and the defender is full of praise for the efforts of those around him.

He said: "I'm obviously enjoying it as captain but it's not just me. We've got a team of men in there, a team of leaders, and everyone is getting stuck in.

"We work hard for each other and I think you've seen that in the first three games. We need to take that on now into the Crawley game.

"It's important to start the season well, especially with the players leaving in the summer and others coming in. I think the new ones have settled in really well.

"But it's only three games and we can't get ahead of ourselves. It's up to us to still do the basics right, work hard and keep showing that team ethic."

Coventry scored twice at Valley Parade on the opening day but City have since chalked up successive clean sheets on their travels against Morecambe and Walsall.

Phil Parkinson's defensive options are further boosted this evening by the return of Alan Sheehan to challenge James Meredith's place. The Australian left back has played in both shut-outs.

Darby said: "Mezza has been here for the past couple of years and we know his qualities. He's a great player.

"With Alan Sheehan as well, we've got good competition and that's what it's about. They will push each other on and that's what you need to keep improving.

"I thought the team performance defensively on Saturday was brilliant. The lads really dug deep and we looked sharp on the break.

"We conceded two in the first game but we've bounced back with two clean sheets. That's something we can hopefully build on tonight.

"It's always nice to keep clean sheets because it gives you the foundations to go on. You always know you're going to get at least a point.

"We're still unbeaten and, while it's very early in the season, we can take that confidence into tonight."

City have ten games crammed into the first month, including four successive midweekers, and Darby believes their pre-season preparation will prove pivotal.

He said: "You are still building up in the first couple of games – but we've had a good pre-season behind us. We've worked really hard and everyone knows we're a fit side.

"We welcome playing all these games, to be honest. Pre-season sets you up for this and the lads just want to play football."