Bristol City manager Derek McInnes: We're not safe yet
BRISTOL City boss Derek McInnes has issued a warning to his players as the fight for npower Championship survival enters its final phase.
Back-to-back wins over fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest and Coventry, during an Easter weekend that yielded six precious points, afforded the Robins breathing space in their battle to avoid the drop.
But despite City being four points clear of third-from-bottom Coventry, McInnes insists the hard work is still to be done during the final four games of the season.
And he will remind his players of the dangers of slacking off before sending them out to face promotion-chasing Birmingham City at St Andrew's tomorrow.
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"There has been good work done, but there is still a lot more to do," said McInnes. "The danger for anyone in our position is to think the job is done. Thankfully, we managed to get the three points against Coventry, but there are another couple of battles still to win.
"We are under no illusions that we still have games to win and, hopefully, we can do that over the next few matches.
"We still have to take points and nobody is going to get them for us. We have to do it ourselves."
Given that Doncaster Rovers and Portsmouth are adrift at the bottom, the fight to avoid joining them in League One appears to now be between City and Coventry.
Andy Thorn's Sky Blues travel to Turf Moor to take on a Burnley side that have little to play for in the hope that City slip up against a Birmingham team that have lost just once at St Andrew's all season.
McInnes acknowledged the size of the task facing his players when he said: "We will need to be close to our very best if we are to give ourselves a chance of getting the job done.
"If we are anything other than at or near our best, we will probably fall short.
"Make no mistake, we have a tough match ahead of us. We are going to have to ask questions of a very experienced back-line at the same time as concentrating on their threats, which there are a lot of."
Chris Hughton's Birmingham are close to guaranteeing a play-off spot and will be highly-motivated in front of their own fans. City lost 2-0 at home to the Blues in McInnes's first game in charge on October 23 and the manager admits he was impressed by Birmingham when he watched them win 3-1 at Burnley recently.
He said: "I think Birmingham are a good side and they have done well to get through so many games with a relatively small squad.
"They don't make many changes and I felt they could always move up a gear or two when I saw them play at Burnley last week."
Having used 18 players in the games against Forest and Coventry, McInnes is facing a selection dilemma. Kalifa Cisse, Louis Carey, Martyn Woolford and Jamie McAllister all played at the City Ground, only to then be left out against Coventry. All four will be hoping to return at St Andrew's.