Leroy Rosenior: Both Bristol teams need to show they're up for the fight
ANY encouraging signs that either Bristol club had shown recently were pretty much emphatically rendered obsolete after very disappointing performances from both sides last weekend.
I know Wolves are a team that were in the Premier League last season, but I really did fancy City to take the opportunity to end their long wait for a win at Ashton Gate when faced, as they were, with a side that had failed to win in their nine previous outings. While we've all heard the 'anybody can beat anybody in the Championship' line pretty much week-after-week, the last thing I expected to happen was for City to be losing 4-0 within the first 25 minutes.
To call the performance disappointing was an understatement to say the least on a day when I expected City to build on their encouraging performances of the previous two games and really get their season up and running.
Skipper Liam Fontaine was pretty much left with no other alternative than to apologise for the performance afterwards – the problem is these apologies for under-par displays are becoming an all-to-frequent occurrence.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
We'd heard all about a re-invigorated squad of players, who were supposedly brimming with confidence on the back of two good performances – but if that's how the players perform when brimming with confidence, I'd be pretty concerned at what the outcome of a game would be when they are struggling.
Manager Derek McInnes was questioned afterwards on whether his decision to field a lone front-man had contributed to the defeat, but I think the formation would be the least of his worries.
The psychology of his players has to be called into question when you've lost a game in the opening half-an-hour.
I've backed Derek to the hilt since he was appointed and I genuinely believe that he will go on to be a very successful Bristol City manager – if he can get through this very sticky period.
The time for talking, however, is over. Supporters aren't interested in hearing apology after apology, week-after-week.
I firmly believe the players Derek has at his disposal are good enough to be a mid-table side at least – but words and thoughts mean little in a situation that can only be addressed by actions. The players have to answer their critics on the pitch and will need to do that when they go to Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow in what is a very important game against another side struggling at the foot of the Championship.
The big worry for Derek and City supporters is that there is a little gap starting to open up between the bottom five teams and the rest.
Of the five teams down there, you would expect Ipswich to work their way out of it under the guidance of a very experienced manager in the shape of Mick McCarthy.
Sheffield Wednesday are another club that could probably throw a few quid at trying to get themselves out of trouble during the January transfer window – not that the availability of funds always guarantees you success.
Derek was backed by majority shareholder Steve Lansdown and the board over a summer which saw the arrival of a number of players that will no doubt have been offered good money to come to Ashton Gate.
To see City struggling at the bottom of the table on a day the club announced a massive £14 million loss in the latest financial year then, is pretty galling.
The league position suggests that the people ploughing in the money – most predominantly Steve Lansdown – are seeing little return on that investment at the moment and they deserve a lot better.
Bristol Rovers supporters are also another group that deserves a lot better from their team at the moment.
Just when you thought things might be on the verge of improving after an encouraging display against Bradford, hope was lost again following another lacklustre display at Wycombe for a game which manager Mark McGhee possibly had his strongest squad of players available.
Matthew Lund's sending off in stoppage-time – the fourth Rovers player to see red in a fortnight – just made matters worse. It's a shame some of these Rovers players don't show the same amount of fight at the start of a game as they seem to do at the end of them. It left frustrated supporters close to breaking point; they must have been, to be singing songs in the direction of their own players containing the word 'embarrassing'.
Mark disagreed when asked afterwards whether those accusations were warranted, but I think those songs are born out of a frustration at the bigger situation rather than one poor performance at Adams Park.
I think what the supporters possibly find most embarrassing, is the fact that their club is third off the bottom of the entire Football League.
I listened to Mark's other post-match comments in which he said players had to be big enough to face up to criticism from supporters and that they can't go into hiding – what's more important, however, is that the players start standing up to the opposition.
If they don't start doing this, and quickly, a relegation battle looms. The Conference is littered with clubs that would almost consider being part of the Football League as some sort of birthright.
Too good to go down? Ask Lincoln, Grimsby, Luton, Wrexham, Mansfield, Cambridge or Stockport.