Leroy Rosenior column: Sam Baldock's form a big positive for Bristol City
IT has been a bit of a mixed week in terms of results for both Bristol clubs. Both Rovers and City will have been disappointed to lose their games over the weekend, but both sets of players bounced back with improved performances on Tuesday night.
Derek McInnes will certainly be the happier of the two managers after the early weeks of the season and the 2-1 win at Peterborough on Tuesday night, to get City's first away win of the season on the board, will have been another boost.
It was pretty disappointing to see City concede two late goals to lose what was a big game for them against Blackburn on Saturday – particularly as they had got off to a flier after Albert Adomah had put them in front with just 42 seconds on the clock.
That City went behind and still managed to comeback to take the game right into the final minutes against a big-spending Blackburn team, who are determined to make it back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, is cause for further encouragement.
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When Sam Baldock scores an equaliser to make it 3-3 with just seven minutes left to play, the least you are expecting from the game is a point. That they went on to lose it from there shows that, perhaps, they showed Blackburn a little too much respect and maybe lacked a bit of belief in themselves.
Still plenty of positives to reflect on, though, particularly the form of Baldock, who continued a fine start to his Bristol City career with the two goals to secure all three points at London Road.
I can tell you that, as a manager, there is nothing better than seeing a player you have spent a bit of money on start to repay the fee straight away by scoring a few goals.
One of the things a manager lives and dies by is their eye for a player and it seems that since arriving at Ashton Gate, Derek's judgement in the transfer market has been pretty much spot-on. An excellent victory however, did come at a cost for Derek with injuries to Greg Cunningham and Cole Skuse that look likely to keep both players sidelined for a number of weeks.
That's a real shame for Derek because Greg has started the season very well and looks a useful acquisition, while Cole is City's Mr Dependable. Not too much in the way of thrills from Cole, but definitely one of those players appreciated by his team-mates and the sort you only realise what he offers to team when he's not available.
The good thing for Derek, however, is that I feel he now has the depth of squad to cope with a few injuries here and there and I don't think that is something I could say last season. The manager has already said that he will look to plug the gaps from within his squad and, with the possibility of one further addition at the centre of defence, I really do feel confident about City's prospects.
Speaking of additions at the heart of defence, it was really promising to hear of how well Garry Kenneth played in his first competitive game for Bristol Rovers at Plymouth on Tuesday night.
Just last week, concerns had been expressed about the Scottish defender's weight and fitness, so to throw him back in the mix ahead of schedule shows how highly he is rated by Mark McGhee.
It was a bit of a gamble on Mark's part, in that, should Garry have picked up another injury after already suffering with hamstring and calf complaints during his short time at the club so far, it would have been open season on the manager for throwing him in back before the time was right. Fortunately, it was a gamble that paid off because Garry was dominant at the back there, a no-nonsense defender, who can actually also play a bit.
He's just the sort of player Mark needs at the moment after admitting after last weekend's defeat at Gillingham that his team lacked experience and aggression.
It was interesting to hear him say that, because in League Two those are exactly the ingredients needed to mould a successful team. A season at that level is a long hard slog and it only gets harder as the weather changes and the pitches begin to show signs of wear and tear.
It's a real battle and the first thing you have to do is win the physical duel. Everybody wants to watch nice and graceful footballers playing the game – but you have to get the ball first to allow you to do it. I'm sure that is something in Mark's mind as he plans to plunder the loan market for reinforcements.
With Kenneth back in the mix now, I think a player or two here and there to further strengthen the spine of the side should see Rovers improve on their stuttering start to the campaign over the next few weeks.