Bristol City fan's view with Matthew Withers
LOOKING at the Championship and League Two table does not make pretty reading if you are a Bristol football fan. What on earth is happening?
We are one of the top ten largest cities in the UK and yet one league team lies joint bottom of the Championship and the other team is bottom of the entire Football League. As most football fans know, if your in relegation trouble at Christmas then it's likely to remain the case come the end of the season.
I honestly thought that this season would be different for Bristol City. I like Derek McInnes and thought the additions made in the summer would at least see us in a comfortable mid table position.
After the home wins against Crystal Palace and Cardiff City I actually thought a top-ten place was a real possibility, but since then the wheels have come off.
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McInnes is getting a reputation as a tinker man, with another four changes being made to the starting line up against Ipswich Town. McInnes opted to play three at the back in Liam Fontaine, Matthew Bates and Stephen McManus.
Greg Cunningham and Richard Foster were encouraged forward to provide support to Neil Danns and Cole Skuse in midfield with Albert Adomah and Paul Anderson supporting loan striker Jon Stead.
To be fair, by and large the formation worked and City gave an improved display against an Ipswich side who have been on a decent run of form since appointing Mick McCarthy as their new manager.
The manger decided to hand the captain's armband to Cole Skuse, removing this added responsibility from Liam Fontaine. The defender has struggled for form for the majority of the season and allowing him to concentrate on just his own game is a good call by the manager. Cole is Bristol born and will I'm sure lead by example. A point away is not a bad result but only if it is backed up by winning performances at home and that is where we have struggled. We are without a win at home since August and if we are to stand any chance this season of staying in the Championship we need to start winning at Ashton Gate. We face a tricky game against Gianfranco Zola's Watford on Boxing Day. Zola has changed the way Watford play and they have impressed their followers this season with the football that they play. However, if we can get at them early and score the all-important early goal, we can get a positive result.
Following the Watford game is a massive game against Peterborough. The Posh looked certainties for relegation only a few weeks back but have since secured victories over top of the table Cardiff City and also scored five in a win against Bolton Wanderers. There are no easy fixtures in this division but we have to be looking at a minimum of four points from our next two fixtures. While the point against Ipswich supported the managers decision to go with one up front, I hope he decides on a more attacking formation against Watford. I would like to see Jon Stead and Sam Baldock start and the midfield given instructions to play the ball on the ground and down the channels for Baldock to run onto and do what he does best. Too often Baldock is receiving the ball throat high and is not being given the opportunity to run at the defence. These two games will define the remainder of our season and I hope that the fans turn out in force and encourage the team on to victory. There are some who feel that McInnes's time is up, but the board have been firm in their belief that he is the right man for the job and we all have to support that.