Neil Kilkenny eyes rebirth under new Bristol City head coach Sean O'Driscoll
Neil Kilkenny believes he can resurrect his Bristol City career under new head coach Sean O'Driscoll.
The midfielder's days at Ashton Gate appeared to be numbered following a falling out with previous manager Derek McInnes.
Made to train with the reserve team since the turn of the year, Kilkenny did not even make City's 18-man squad for games against Millwall, Blackburn Rovers and Leicester.
But the departure of McInnes and the decision to appoint O'Driscoll as his successor, has reopened the door to the first team for a player who has never been afraid to voice his opinion.
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Restored to the starting line-up at Leeds on Saturday, Kilkenny is now hoping to feature in the first-team squad on a regular basis for the final 19 games of the season.
"This season has been hard for me. I've only made six starts and five substitute appearances and I'd been training with the reserves for the last couple of weeks," said Kilkenny.
"Obviously, it was good to be involved again. I hope this is now a chance for me to kick-start my season.
"Everyone says Sean O'Driscoll is a footballing manager and he likes to see his sides get the ball down and play.
"I've been told by lots of people that he likes his sides to pass the ball. Hopefully, that will be the case, he will play me more regularly and I will enjoy my football again.
"As far as I'm concerned, I want to play as many games as possible, help us win as many of those as possible and stay in this division."
Although Kilkenny directed traffic in the centre of midfield and helped City retain possession for periods of the game at Elland Road on Saturday, the focus was on defending as a team as O'Driscoll sought an elusive clean sheet in his first game in charge.
But Kilkenny anticipates a more enterprising approach when the Robins take on Ipswich Town and Watford at Ashton Gate on Saturday and Tuesday respectively.
He said: "The plan is for us to keep the ball, gain confidence from that and become more of an attacking force.
"To be fair, the manager has only had a few days with us and I'm sure he will get more of his ideas across as he works with us this week. He has already got us organised and structured – now we need to do more in the other half of the pitch and create more chances. The manager has started at the back and, hopefully, over the next week or so, he can revive the whole team."
Manchester United and Crystal Palace are working towards concluding a deal for England winger Wilfried Zaha.
Sir Alex Ferguson has remained behind as his United squad travelled to Qatar on Sunday for a short training camp. United are understood to be willing to pay £12 million for Zaha and will then loan him back to the Championship club for the rest of the season.