PREVIEW: Cardiff City vs Bristol City
MARVIN Elliott reckons Bristol City are an altogether different proposition with Sean O'Driscoll at the helm.
Bottom of the npower Championship and widely regarded as relegation certainties a month ago, the Robins have undergone a mini-revival since O'Driscoll was appointed head coach on January 14.
City have won three of their last four games and the talk inside Ashton Gate is of a Houdini-style escape from relegation to League One.
Certainly, midfielder Elliott, pictured, and his team-mates are in a better place to contemplate back-to-back away games against Cardiff and Crystal Palace with something other than fear, as they might have done a month ago.
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: Sunday, June 30 2013
Better organised and harder to beat under O'Driscoll's shrewd stewardship, City are playing with a renewed confidence that suggests either one of the next two games could produce a tale of the unexpected.
Looking ahead to tomorrow's Severnside derby in the Championship leaders' backyard, Elliott said: "This is a very, very tough game and we are fully aware of that. The gaffer talked to us about it immediately after the last game to try to get us focussed on the job in hand.
"But I would like to think Cardiff and Palace will be more worried about us now than they might have been a month ago.
"Confidence is such an important factor. We are now doing things we would not have tried a month ago and they are paying off for us.
"We've already beaten Cardiff at our place and this game does not frighten us. We are playing well at the moment and we are looking forward to the challenge.
"The Championship always throws up strange results and we will go into the next two games believing we can win them."
The down-to-earth O'Driscoll has gone back to basics on the training field, preaching a mantra that highlights the importance of hard work, organisation and discipline.
Given that City failed to keep a single clean sheet in 31 outings under previous manager Derek McInnes and have now twice shut out the opposition in three matches under O'Driscoll, suggests the new head coach's message is getting through.
Although Cardiff can be expected to present a sterner test than Nottingham Forest did a week earlier, last Saturday's 2-0 home win has engendered a belief that City, in their current form, can compete with even the best sides in the second tier.
Elliott added: "Forest had one good chance in the first half when (Dexter) Blackstock hit the bar but, apart from that, we kept them pretty quiet.
"It's down to organisation and nothing more or less than that. It's not luck and it's no coincidence that the things we work on in the week are starting to come out on a Saturday.
"That is the purpose of training – putting what you practice into action."
Having been seven points adrift of safety not so long ago, the Robins are now just three points behind fourth-from-bottom Wolves, one of several teams who have been dragged into the relegation battle.
Elliott said: "We still have a lot of work to do, but at least we now have some momentum. The thing now is to keep it going. There is a long way to go and we have to keep our form going if we want to drag other sides into it."