Leroy Rosenior: Time is still something that McInnes has . . . but not much
I KNOW Steve Lansdown would probably be keen to call his backing of Bristol City manager Derek McInnes earlier this week anything but a vote of confidence – but, let's be honest, that's exactly what it was.
History suggests that little time will pass between the words coming out of a chairman/owner's mouth and the removal of a football manager – but I genuinely think that Steve will give Derek more than the one or two games other managers may get in the same situation at other clubs.
Steve has a history of giving an under-fire manager time to turn things around – the amount of time, however, is not limitless. Derek will now know more than ever that the pressure is on.
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to work that out after seven straight defeats during which performances have offered little encouragement that things will improve.
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We've heard a lot about the changes that Derek has tried to implement behind the scenes in an effort to improve the whole infrastructure of the football side of the club and these will all probably be very positive for the long-term future of the Bristol City.
Supporters, however, will see that as little consolation when things are going so awry on the pitch.
The progress of the first team is the most important thing for a football club to focus on because that's what the supporters pay their money to come and see.
It's the most obvious and visible product of the football club, something Derek acknowledged when speaking for the first time since his side lost 2-0 to Charlton on Sunday.
The baffling thing for me and many supporters to get their heads around are that the squad is better now than it was this time last year and yet the position remains almost the same.
It's difficult to pinpoint what has gone wrong, although unfortunate injuries have not helped.
Neither has a failure to recruit a much-needed right-sided central defender over the summer – something that Derek was man enough to admit when speaking earlier this week.
I do think Derek will go on to be a very good football manager and I still sense that a fair amount of supporters remain behind him for the time being.
That patience won't last forever though, and I see the next four games as being crucial for Derek – and let's be honest, they're all tough.
Blackpool and Wolves at Ashton Gate provide the bookends for trips to Middlesbrough and Brighton – can anybody see an easy game there?
I certainly can't, but this is the nature of the Championship this season.
I think a return of five or six points from those games would be a good effort and enough to persuade Steve Lansdown that Derek is the right man to spend any money that is made available to sort things out in January.
Anything less than that and I'm pretty certain Steve will have a big decision to make.
The pressure, meanwhile, seems to have lifted off Mark McGhee after his Bristol Rovers players ended a four-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over Chesterfield last weekend.
I was speaking to a Rovers supporter, who follows the team around the country, the other day and he told me he was still fully behind McGhee, despite the surprising league position Rovers find themselves in.
The result on Saturday, then, at the very least, will have restored some faith amongst the fan-base.
What Rovers have to do now is try and string together two or three good results on the bounce and the picture will look a lot different going into the Christmas period.
Can they do that? Possibly, but they have some really tough fixtures to come with trips to Rochdale and Port Vale. Getting points in these sorts of games is certainly not beyond them, however.
The players have showed that in games against good sides like Exeter and Fleetwood, while also embarking on an encouraging run of one defeat in seven games prior to their four defeats recently.
A settled side will help, although I still think Mark has not yet been able to field what he believes is his strongest side at all this season.
That is down to a horrendous run of injuries coupled with some inconsistent form from some players you know are capable of doing so much better. The biggest conundrum Mark will have to deal with this weekend will be how to deploy Derek Riordan in order to try and get the best out of him. The manager has been criticised for playing him on the left-hand side of midfield – although this is where Derek wants to play, apparently.
Some supporters have found this decision baffling, particularly as Fabian Broghammer has been played out-of-position on the right to accommodate Derek.
I can understand it in a way because Mark is obviously desperate to keep Derek in the side. He may not have produced his best form yet, but is the sort of player proven in the past to have the ability to create or do something that extra special.
Managers will always persist with a player like that and live in hope that something will happen to spark some life into some one they view as that 'special' player.
The problem with special players is that they are also usually the most frustrating. A goal tomorrow at Spotland would certainly go some way to restoring supporters' faith in the enigmatic Scotsman, seven days on from having it tentatively restored in their team.