THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

{mosimage} 5 November ~ There is a feeling in the air in south Bristol at the moment that the tide may just be turning. Following Bristol City’s worst start to a season for 28 years, the team have managed to put together a spell of three games unbeaten and victory on Saturday against Preston would lift the club out of the bottom three for the first time since late September. Many vocal supporters and message board warriors blame Steve Coppell and Steve Coppell alone for the poor start. However, a crippling injury list, the use of 24 different players in just seven league fixtures and a board with more than half an eye on financial problems the new stadium issue all contributed to varying degrees.

Suddenly, the team has a more settled look to it. Steven Caulker and Danny Rose, both on loan from Tottenham – thanks in large part to the appointment of England Under-21 coach Steve Wigley as assistant to manager Keith Millen – have added a quality that was missing in the squad left behind by Coppell. Similarly, the reintroduction of the unfairly maligned Lee Johnson has given the midfield more balance. Free from the accusation that he was in the team only because of his manager father Gary, Johnson junior has turned in a couple of measured performances. On top of all this, Jon Stead is not turning out to be the player that supporters of his previous clubs warned us about, but a tireless and potent goal threat.

Manager Millen is a popular character, having been at Ashton Gate since joining as a player in 1999, and while he may have been a surprising choice to replace Coppell – his only previous managerial experience was as caretaker in a nine-game spell following Gary Johnson’s departure last spring – there is much hope that he will succeed in securing Championship safety for the club as the winter draws on. This is based on recognition of his performance last season (one defeat in those nine games), and the fact that he moved quickly to address weaknesses in the squad before the transfer window closed.

While it would be preposterous to talk about "must-win games" with less than a third of the season gone, a steady improvement in league position is required. Beating the team immediately above you at home would be the best way to suggest that the current mini-revival can lead to something more tangible. Mo Davies

Comments (1)
Comment by lone striker 2010-11-05 15:42:25

'While it would be preposterous to talk about "must-win games" with less than a third of the season gone...'

I wish somebody would tell our (Grimsby) fans that.

Bristol City are one of those clubs I feel favourably disposed towards for no reason that I can really pin down. Maybe just that I like Bristol very much. Glad you're turning it around, anyway.

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