Bristol City boss Derek McInnes explains captaincy switch
Derek McInnes insists Liam Fontaine has been replaced as Bristol City captain for his own good.
A regular selection since McInnes took over as manager at Ashton Gate in October 2011, Fontaine was handed the captain's armband on a regular basis during pre-season.
He led the Robins into the Championship campaign and helped them register notable victories over Cardiff and Crystal Palace.
But as results and dipped and confidence was undermined, so Fontaine's own performances tailed off and, at times this season, the experienced centre-back has been a shadow of his former self.
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McInnes decided to act before the recent game against Ipswich Town at Portman Road, taking the armband away from Fontaine and handing it instead to fit-again midfielder Cole Skuse.
Fontaine responded by turning in one of his most assured displays of the season to help the Robins garner a precious point on the road.
Skuse led the team out for subsequent matches against Peterborough and Millwall and is expected to retain the captaincy for the foreseeable future.
McInnes explained: "I just feel Liam Fontaine needs to concentrate on himself a wee bit.
"He needs all the support he can get from everybody. It is too easy to just criticise and all the rest of it.
"We felt maybe taking the captaincy off him would allow him to concentrate on his own game.
"I thought he was excellent (against Ipswich) last week and he would have played against Watford had the game not been postponed.
"Taking the captaincy away does not detract from him as a player. I think he is a good player who needs a bit of help and support from his team-mates, from his manager, from the staff and from the supporters.
"He is a very capable centre-back and we felt a little less responsibility might just help him."
A Bristolian and a City fan as a boy, Skuse is a natural leader and commands respect in the dressing room and among the supporters.
Out of contract at the end of this season, he has yet to sign a new deal and McInnes is hoping the added responsibility of captaincy might persuade him to agree terms.
He said: "Now that Coles is back fit, we feel he is someone who can fill that role. It is something I debated for a while.
"Cole Skuse has always been a key player for me and will play week in and week out for me, because of what I think of him.
"I think he was a natural choice and we need as many captains on the pitch as possible."