Robins can soar under Sean

Date published: Monday 18th February 2013 2:14

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The Severnside Derby last weekend gave evidence against factors that are sadly true for Bristol City Football Club.

City were largely outclassed by the rebranded Bluebirds on their home patch, courtesy of a front two that consisted of ex-Premier League strikers in Fraizer Campbell and Craig Bellamy.

Cardiff City are a better side than Bristol City and they have a better squad and quite possibly a better manager. Sean O’Driscoll has been nothing short of magnificent since arriving but you can’t help but think that Malky Mackay was the young, Scottish and exciting manager that everyone had hoped Derek McInnes would be.

The Robins, though, are significantly improved since the ex-Doncaster manager took over his role, as head coach at Ashton Gate. Head coach – a role that O’Driscoll was keen to remind Geoff Twentyman of in a recent interview where he insists he just guides the players. It all sounds quite healthy really and things were made healthier by the arrival of Brian Howard who enjoyed a positive spell on the South Coast with Portsmouth.

Wins against Forest, Watford and Ipswich shouldn’t be overlooked and two of those were sublime performances, well near enough. The loss at Blackburn blighted things a little but considering the form of others surrounding City at the bottom, we cannot afford to dwell on past games.

The club still stands in a worryingly precarious position, even with the help of good football supremo O’Driscoll.

Previous short-comers are beginning to excel, including Marvin Elliot and Neil Kilkenny, when fit. The coach moved quickly and smartly to bring in Brendan Moloney at full-back, another ex-Forest player to join Greg Cunningham on the other flank. Moloney may not be the answer but he’s at a good age and was brought in at an affordable price.

O’Driscoll has been marvellous. He has managed to deploy both Liam Fontaine and Lewin Nyatanga in a central-defensive partnership that previously had been a horror show. The two defenders struggled to deal with Cardiff’s movement, but the duo were significantly improved.

Albert Adomah, believe it or not, was a big loss whilst he left the cold weather of Bristol for that of South Africa as he started three games for Ghana in the African Cup of Nations. The winger was subject of a wade of interest for his services in January and his absence was welcome for that particular reason. Adomah being back in the squad is a gigantic boost.

City face Palace next and that is another big test but City will be buoyed by their recent performances and they may even still share an ounce of confidence from thrashing and dominating a similar Palace side at Ashton Gate in September.

Finally, the proposed stadium plans to revamp parts of Ashton Gate as opposed to moving to a new site at Ashton Vale are disappointing. Steve Lansdown and his son, Jon, have piled effort into swaying the council into making a decision right for Bristol as a city, yet still may have to compromise. A compromise, which would see just a 6,000-seat increase on the current site – which is over a century old.

By Ben Fisher, FanZone’s Bristol City blogger. Follow him on Twitter at @benfishermedia – and don’t forget to follow @FanZone too!

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