Bristol City boss Sean O'Driscoll says Carey-Fontaine partnership is his "best"
Bristol City head coach Sean O'Driscoll claims the Louis Carey-Liam Fontaine central defensive axis is the "best" available to him right now.
Since replacing the sacked Derek McInnes earlier this month, the 55-year-old Midlander has put his faith in the long-serving pair, deploying them at the heart of the back four in his first two games in charge at Leeds and at home to Ipswich.
And Carey and Fontaine have responded in positive fashion, playing their part in improved defensive displays that have already served to restore a degree of confidence within the Championship's bottom side.
Carey may be 36 and approaching the end of his career, but he turned in a man-of-the-match performance to help City beat Ipswich 2-1 at the weekend and his presence appeared to help Fontaine no end.
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Out of form and low on confidence all season, Fontaine is clearly benefiting from a return to his natural left side and, although he was partially at fault for the goal City conceded against Ipswich, his overall performance was that of a man transformed.
O'Driscoll said: "No disrespect to the players, but when you come in to a new team and see two left-footers playing together in the centre of defence, it is obvious there is an imbalance there.
"Liam was playing on the right side and that is difficult for a left footer. I decided I needed to balance things up.
"The choices were between young James Wilson and the experience of Louis Carey. As a pair, they (Carey and Fontaine) are the best we've got."
Often overlooked by McInnes, Carey now faces the challenge of playing three games in a week.
He trained with the rest of City's first team squad on Sunday and O'Driscoll will select him to face Watford on Tuesday providing he recovers in time.
O'Driscoll confided: "The only problem is that Louis Carey is 36.
"We try to be careful with him in training, because we need him to play games rather than train all week and then suffer on Saturday.
"He is a good character, he has been here for years and he is terrific in the two games so far, terrific in training and around the place. He has good knowledge we can tap into.
"Whether Tuesday is a game too far for him, we will have to wait and see. But he is desperate to play and I think he will be there.
"It is a case of putting round pegs in round holes and Louis has helped Liam look like a player again."