It was a battle to sign George Elokobi for Bristol City, says boss Derek McInnes
DEREK McInnes has revealed how Bristol City beat off competition from a host of Championship rivals to land George Elokobi.
Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Elokobi, 26, joined the Robins on a three-month emergency loan deal on Wednesday night and is expected to make his debut against Leeds at Ashton Gate tomorrow.
But McInnes had his work cut out to sign Elokobi, who was attracting firm interest from other clubs.
Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town and Millwall all wanted to take the Cameroon international left-back on loan, only to lose out to City.
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McInnes said: "We fought off a lot of competition from other Championship clubs to secure his signature and I believe that shows the perception of Bristol City is changing out there.
"It is important we don't get slack with it, but it was encouraging to hear what George and his advisers had to say about us.
"We have to make sure Bristol City is a good place to come for football reasons, not because it is a nice area or because it offers a good financial deal. Those financial deals might not always be there.
"For me, it is about players recognising Bristol City as a place where their careers can prosper and I do get a wee feeling of late that is the case. But I'm not an idiot and I need to make sure we keep winning games, because it is only our final league position that can help change perceptions."
City's manager tried to sign Elokobi on loan in January, but the defender opted to join Nottingham Forest, who were prepared to pay his Premier League wages.
But a great deal has changed at Ashton Gate since then. McInnes has overseen a mass clearout of players and been busy in the transfer market, making eight permanent signings to transform his squad.
And, after two seasons of struggle, the Robins have made a much-improved start to their latest campaign in the English second tier, taking ten points from seven games to establish themselves in the top half of the table.
Elokobi said: "There were a number of Championship clubs I could have joined, but Bristol City stood out to me for football reasons.
"I was watching from the stands when they won at Forest last season and I was impressed with them.
"I've also seen some of the goals they have scored this season and they look like a club on the up. That impression was confirmed when I met the manager."
City's players will be in upbeat mood after collecting four points from back-to-back away games at Peterborough and Watford, and successive home fixtures against Leeds tomorrow and Millwall on Tuesday offer an opportunity for the Robins to climb the table.
But McInnes is expecting a stern examination from a Leeds side that are cock-a-hoop after dumping Premier League Everton out of the Capital One Cup in midweek.
He said: "Leeds had a terrific result against Everton and are in good form. When you take a scalp like that, it does you a world of good and there will be a good feeling about their club at the moment."