LEROY ROSENIOR: Bristol City's Sean O'Driscoll set for the last laugh as he prepares for Nottingham Forest
IT is never nice when you lose a job – but I'd be prepared to wager that Sean O'Driscoll is pleased to be out of whatever is going on at Nottingham Forest at the moment. Sean will tomorrow come face-to-face with the club that, inexplicably, sacked him on Boxing Day just hours after Forest had secured an impressive 4-2 success over Leeds United in front of the TV cameras at a time when the team were only a point outside the play-offs.
The Forest chairman, Fawaz Al Hasawi, explained that decision by saying that it was made with the "long-term future" in mind and that the club was looking to bring in an "ambitious manager with Premier League experience".
That doesn't seen to have worked out to well for them, does it? Alex McLeish has lasted just over a month before Billy Davies was yesterday confirmed as the fourth manager since July at the City Ground.
Forest's loss, however, is certainly Bristol City's gain and I wouldn't be surprised if the neutrals would be hoping that Sean gets a result as some sort of payback for losing his job in such disappointing circumstances.
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Not that Sean will be looking at it in that way.
He'll be treating the game just like any other in that there are three points at stake and any other issues surrounding the fixture will be immaterial to him.
What surprises me most about Forest decision is this, though: If you are looking for a manager with the 'long-term' in mind then I can think of nobody better that Sean to fit that job description.
Unfortunately, Sean's sacking is just another sign of an increasing trend where people who haven't really got a clue are interfering in affairs that should solely be the responsibility of the football manager.
Billy will be a popular appointment with Forest supporters, but I'm almost certain that a good majority would still have been happy had Sean still been in charge of their football team.
Such upheaval at Forest right now though, should hopefully play right into City's hands at a time when they desperately need a result to offset the disappointment of last weekend's defeat at Blackburn Rovers.
That bit of bad news, however, was slightly tempered by the fact that plans were revealed to re-develop Ashton Gate should the long-running sage over a bid to build on land at Ashton Vale fail to reach a satisfying conclusion. The stadium is an issue that has been hanging over the club for some time and at least supporters can be confident that those in charge of off-the-field affairs have a 'Plan B' and are thinking and moving forward in the right direction behind the scenes.
On the pitch, however, there was bad news following the loss of Louis Carey to injury – although it appears the problem is not as bad as first feared.
Louis has been immense since forcing his way into Sean's plans during the first few weeks of his reign and characters like him will be important if City are to achieve the massive ask of retaining their Championship status between now and the end of the season.
Relegation fears appear to be receding across the other side of the city, however, following a week in which Bristol Rovers continued their revival under the astute stewardship of John Ward.
There is certainly a mounting optimism among supporters I have spoken to.
This feeling has been bolstered following crucial goals in stoppage-time in the last two games to collect a respectable four points from two difficult assignments.
I saw John celebrating with passion after Ryan Brunt grabbed a 94th-minute winner when it looked like Barnet had snatched a point with a late equaliser seconds before.
John's heart rate would probably have just about stabilised in time for Tuesday night's game at Cheltenham.
Around 94 minutes later, however, John and his backroom team were spilling out of their dug-out at Whaddon Road to celebrate Ollie Norburn's sensational 30-yard strike, which earned Rovers a valuable point with virtually the last kick of the game.
It may have only been enough to earn a point on paper, but psychologically it will mean so much more.
Cheltenham boss Mark Yates looked a broken man when he emerged to speak to the press talking of "devastation" and how he was "lost for words" even though both teams ended the evening with a point each.
"I'll have to keep taking these heart tablets," John was heard to say when he attended to his press commitments after the game. I'd say: "Yes, you certainly should, John!"
The current squad of players never seem to know when to give up, in stark contrast to the Rovers of earlier in the season when the outcomes of their games were usually well and truly decided inside 70 minutes.
A four-game unbeaten run and an increasingly growing feel-good factor surrounding John's team will serve to raise expectations quickly, however.
A few more results like the two they have achieved inside the last week or so will inevitably lead to some daydreaming about a late run for the play-offs.
Those dreams are for another day, though, as steering well clear of relegation must remain the only target until they have mathematically achieved it.
But at least John has got them well on their way towards it.