Bristol City fan's view by Matthew Withers
HATS off to Derek McInnes. I'm sure that I wasn't the only one who questioned the manager on his selections when the team was announced before the kick-off away to Middlesbrough at the Riverside.
The manager was forced into two changes, following injuries to Jon Stead and Matthew Bates.
For me when Louis Carey has played this season he has been our best defender and the popular Bristolian is now only ten appearances short of John Atyeo's club appearance record.
McInnes decided to set up with a 4-4-1-1 formation with Ryan Taylor up top and Neil Danns supporting him. It's no coincidence that an improvement in performances and results has coincided with the signing of Danns.
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Steven Davies will be disappointed not to have started, but the manager got it right in playing Ryan Taylor in the lone man role. Davies poses more of a goal threat than Taylor does, but Taylor is able to play the lone role better and brings the midfield and wide men in to play.
Joe Bryan was again impressive at left-back and is growing into the position.
Having Bryan and, when fit Greg Cunningham, vying for the position can only be a good thing for the club. Bryan likes to attack and it was following his strong run and cross that City got the opener. It was a shame that we couldn't keep a clean sheet, but with confidence and the improvement in looking after the football, I would suggest that a shut out is not that far off.
It was good to see Stephen Pearson and Albert Adomah get on the score sheet with both players putting in a real shift at both ends of the pitch.
City are by no means out of the woods but the way they controlled the game and passed the football against a very good side gives cause for real optimism. Danns will get better with games and Marvin Elliot and Neil Kilkenny will also improve the more game time they have. The first win in three months will also be a major confidence boost and City should head to Brighton in midweek looking to continue this upturn.
As I say, a great deal of credit has to go to the manager for this result and also fair play to every player who showed the desire and work ethic, which I had felt, had been missing during our poor run. The players can take heart in this performance and the result, both individually, and as a team.
I was sad to see Brett Pitman leave the club on loan this week, returning to his former club Bournemouth. Pitman scored a number of special goals for City and I'm sure he will consider himself unlucky not to get a long run in the side, certainly under McInnes. I'm sure he will do well on the south coast, already bagging a goal on his debut. Best wishes Brett.