Bristol City boss Derek McInnes: Let's prove the critics wrong
DEREK McInnes will challenge Bristol City's players to prove their critics wrong before sending them out to face Burnley at Ashton Gate tonight.
Widely touted as relegation candidates before the start of the season, City are four places off the foot of the npower Championship drop zone after taking just two points from their last five games.
But City's recent slide means McInnes and his team are all the more determined to silence those pundits who are predicting another season of struggle for the Robins.
While recognising his players still have to prove themselves this term, McInnes came out fighting ahead of what many fans are billing as a potentially pivotal clash against the Clarets.
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He said: "We are where we are and it is where most people outside of the club expected us to be at the start of the season.
"It is certainly not where the players and I felt we would be, but we are here and we have work to do to get ourselves away from it.
"I have every confidence we will not finish where we are at the minute. I have every confidence we will finish higher than that. Privately, the players and myself believe we are better than where we are at the minute, but we have to prove that.
"A lot of people will be thinking 'here they are again – Bristol City down at the bottom' but I would like to think that it will be different this season.
"We will look forward to trying to prove people wrong and prove ourselves right by showing we are better than we are at the minute."
McInnes and his players are relishing a return to home comforts after testing away games against Leicester and Bolton.
And the Scot believes Ashton Gate regulars can play their part in inspiring a return to winning ways.
He said: "I think the supporters have to recognise that the players deserve all the backing in the world. They are working very hard.
"Yes, mistakes have been made, yes, there have been instances where we have not quite got what we deserved and there is a real sense of frustration from that.
"But for a majority of the season we have been very competitive and have been close to getting something from every game we have played.
"I think the supporters recognise we are not the best team in the world, but that we are certainly committed and hard working.
"We want to show them that on Tuesday night and our aim is to have a really spirited and committed performance and to let everyone see how much we care."
A City side that has yet to keep a clean sheet this season must find a way to stop 16-goal Burnley striker Charlie Austin if they are to register a first home win in four attempts dating back to August 25.
Responsibility for that will fall to Louis Carey among others and the veteran centre-back knows what to expect from the former Swindon Town marksman.
He said: "He is a goalscorer and he is in great form. We have to be aware of him and do everything we can to cut off the supply to him.
"He is one of those players who comes alive in and around the penalty area and, as a defender, you cannot afford to switch off, even for a second.
"Austin is one of those clever lads who has good movement and you have to concentrate all the time, even when you think you are in your position."