LEROY ROSENIOR: Bristol City's survival bid is gaining momentum after Barnsley win
IT was great to see Bristol City score five confidence-boosting goals at Ashton Gate to move off the bottom of the Championship last Saturday ahead of, what I think just might be, their biggest game of the season this weekend.
Showing a bit of sloppiness and a lack of discipline to concede two late goals in the 5-3 win over Barnsley is the only minor grip any City supporter could have on the back of a victory over one of the form sides in the Championship.
Barnsley are now within arm's reach of City again before Sean O'Driscoll's side return to action at Blackpool tomorrow – a game I very much fancy them to go and win on what is probably the worst pitch in the Football League.
City might yet to have won a game away from home under Sean, but the terrible surface at Bloomfield Road, which good footballers like Tom Ince and Matty Phillips are finding it difficult to play on, will, I feel, play right in to their hands.
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Sean is a fantastic organiser and if City get their shape right and make themselves hard to beat, I think they can grind out a victory that will improve their chances of survival considerably.
I don't think either Barnsley or Ipswich will get anything from their respective games against Bolton and Leicester City, while another defeat for Blackpool keeps them right in the thick of the relegation scrap.
Sean, meanwhile, says he is unlikely to utilise the loan market between now and the end of March, but that is something that doesn't particularly bother me.
Poor results sometimes make it hard to see the wood from the trees and it is all too easy to forget that City already have some very good players at Ashton Gate.
The arrival of Sean and a bit of organisation has highlighted that on their day these players are more than capable of winning enough games to make a fight of staying in the Championship.
Bristol Rovers, meanwhile, are now back to within three points of the League Two relegation zone after conceding a late goal to lose a very tight game at Northampton on Tuesday night.
It was a bit disappointing to see John Ward's side unable to follow up what was a very decent point at Morecambe after losing a tight game against Rotherham last week.
The encouraging thing for John, however, is that performances remain consistent – even if the results he's desired haven't been forthcoming in the last few games.
It was always going to be a tough game against a very direct Northampton side, who had been on a run of six consecutive victories on their own patch and are very much in the mix to win automatic promotion.
I think John said afterwards himself that his players deserved a point for the way they had defended Northampton's robust approach for the majority of the match before the continued aerial pressure finally paid a dividend with a goal at the end.
I don't think John will be too disheartened by a couple of results that are minor blips in the overall context of what has been achieved so far – although what is a slight concern is the way injuries are beginning to become a problem again.
It was terrible to hear John confirm that Seanan Clucas is the latest member of the squad to suffer a season-ending cruciate knee ligament injury at a time when the young midfielder looked to be finally settling into a regular role as part of the first-team.
I can't think of an unluckier club when it comes to the amount of players who have suffered a serious knee injury in the same season. Adam Virgo, Matt Harrold, Cian Bolger, Matt Gill and Garry Kenneth have all been victims this season. I've never witnessed anything like it in all my time in the game.
Young striker Ryan Brunt is also struggling with a less-serious knee complaint, which is why John moved into the market to snap up Oumare Tounkara on Wednesday.
I don't know much about the lad, but to have impressed enough on a trial at Sunderland to earn a contract a couple of years ago suggests he has potential.
He also has 50 games under his belt at League One level following a loan spell at Oldham and has the sort of physical presence that will be a perfect fit for the way John likes to set his teams up.
Oumare is set to make his debut at the Memorial Stadium tomorrow when Rovers will face another promotion-chasing side in the shape of Burton Albion.
These in-form teams just keep coming, don't they. Rovers are in good form themselves, though, and that shouldn't be forgotten in the face of a couple of minor setbacks in the last week or so.