Well well well, football can change pretty quickly, cant it?
Just three games ago, City were reeling from a 4-0 home reverse to Leicester, with Ashton Gate an angry place to be. Fans were booing, and chanting for the manager’s head. That evening Derek McInnes was relieved of his duties and Sean O Driscoll, the man many fans wanted, was appointed as head coach just two days later. And what an appointment he had turned out to be thus far. A first match loss to Leeds showed progression in terms of performance and attitude from players, then a last minute winner from fans favourite Jon Stead in O’Driscoll’s first home match set them up for back to back victories. Throw in a first clean sheet of the season and it’s all smiles at Ashton Gate.
So what has changed?
The fans had questioned the desire and commitment of the players under the previous regime. It is highly thought of throughout the terraces that City has a decent squad at Championship level, one that certainly shouldn’t be at the bottom of the table. With no clean sheets all season, the confidence had been drained out of the back four quicker than Albert Adomah’s ‘Ferrari boots’ running down the wing. Under McInnes, the team wasn’t stable. Constant changes never allowed the side to gel or gain any pattern of play. Players were played out of position in a desperate ploy to win matches. O’Driscoll’s formula will be built solely around organisation.
Can we survive?
Well, within a week, the gap has been cut from 7 points adrift to 4 points. This goes without saying what a boost it has given everyone. It won’t be easy. There won’t be a run of 10 matches without defeat. We won’t start hammering every side 4-0. What there will be though is a run of 10 matches with a passionate performance, one that will give all it can to the football club, one that the supporters will go home happy and proud with. Fans are satisfied in defeat, if they know the players who have crossed the line to represent their badge have given everything that they can.
Key to success.
A solid and organised unit working together will be a start. In goal, Tom Heaton looks a class act, regularly making point blank saves. Greg Cunningham looks like he will continue the trend of having top drawer left backs at the club, carrying on from the days of Darren Barnard, Micky Bell and Jamie McAllister to name but 3. Maloney looks an assured signing at right back, with great positional sense and a touch of an early Bradley Orr about him. If Fontaine can hit the form we know he is capable of and form a partnership with club legend Louis Carey, hope will be renewed. Paul Anderson (why on earth he wasn’t playing until recently is beyond me), Steven Davies, Sam Baldock, Jon Stead and Albert Adomah can all win matches, and if the defence can do their bit, we might just stay up. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be straightforward, but we’re a Championship club and belong there. In Sean O’Driscoll and Richard O’Kelly, we have the right leadership to ensure we fight til the end.
Written by Lee Molland, We Are Going Up’s Bristol City Blogger
Lee tweets at @Molls28