Leroy Rosenior: McInnes has had his say, now it's up to Bristol City players to act
AFTER another week in which they have conceded a hatful of goals, Bristol City's excuses are wearing a bit thin. From the outside looking in, it seems to me that manager Derek McInnes and the board of directors have done all they can and it is now down to the players to put their house in order.
It is all very well saying City have a great squad and are capable of scoring lots of goals, but that counts for nothing if you cannot keep the ball out of your own net.
If losing 3-2 at Bolton was not entirely unexpected, letting in four goals at home against Burnley was certainly a shock to the system.
I keep hearing that the manager has missed out on his targets in the transfer market or that key players are injured.
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
Of course, losing George Elokobi to serious injury was unfortunate and now Liam Fontaine has joined Greg Cunningham on the sidelines.
But those excuses are wearing thin and I believe it is down to the players in that dressing room to do something about the situation before it spirals out of control.
I for one believe they are good enough, but it is going to take some kind of internal shake-up for things to change.
I think they have reached the stage where they need to meet up at someone's house and thrash out their problems like men.
Derek can talk until he is blue in the face, but the players have to do it for themselves. They have to pull together and it may help to have a drink and a verbal scrap in order to get the problems out of the system.
It may help for them to have a go at one another, point the finger, thrash it out and then shake hands and resolve to do better as a group.
It is so frustrating, because the goals they are conceding are undermining the confidence derived from some impressive early-season performances. Just about all of those positives have now evaporated owing to inept defending. Personally, I don't feel City do enough to keep the ball out of their penalty area and there now seems to be a mental block when it comes to defending.
They simply have to work harder as a team to prevent the ball being played in, especially from wide positions.
Someone suggested to me that the team has an inferiority complex when they come up against the bigger clubs, but I don't agree. I believe they are good enough and there is enough talent within the squad to turn things around without the manager continually resorting to the loan market.
They can compete with anyone in the Championship, but they have to believe they are good enough.
As for Bristol Rovers, they seem to take two paces forward and then one back. That was certainly the case when they lost 3-1 at AFC Wimbledon in midweek.
I don't think people should read too much into that one result. The month of October has been a good one for Rovers and they have gone on a decent run and shown steady improvement.
There is an excellent spirit within the squad and there are some strong characters in the dressing room. And players also seem willing to play out of position to do a job for the manager and the team.
I'm sure Rovers will be just fine once some of the injured players start returning. They have had unbelievable bad luck with injury and, as Mark McGhee so rightly says, you have to get your budget out onto the pitch if you are going to achieve anything at all.
They were missing a few key players on Tuesday against a Wimbledon team that were always going to respond in a positive manner to new boss Neil Ardley.
Unfortunately for Rovers, that response came in midweek.
Personally, I don't think that defeat should change our attitude to Rovers and the job Mark is doing there.
It was always going to take time for what is essentially a new team to gel and there are bound to be a few pitfalls along the way.
But Rovers appear to have a good team ethic and that was demonstrated by David Clarkson agreeing to a change of role to cover for the injured Matt Gill.
A striker by trade, Clarkson has always operated up front for his previous clubs, Motherwell and Bristol City.
But he was asked to drop back into midfield and perform a job for the team and he did it without complaint.
Similarly, Garry Kenneth is also emerging as a strong character and a real leader on the pitch. So long as Mark is able to call upon players like these two, then Rovers will continue to grow and improve as the season progresses.