Our derby-day preparation has been low key, insists Bristol City boss Sean O'Driscoll
BRISTOL City head coach Sean O'Driscoll is talking down tomorrow's mouthwatering Severnside derby against Championship leaders Cardiff in the Welsh capital.
A trip to the Principality is always one of the most eagerly-anticipated fixtures of the season for Robins fans.
And more than 2,000 Bristolians will be making the short journey to the Cardiff City Stadium for tomorrow's lunchtime kick-off after City sold out their allocation.
But City boss O'Driscoll is approaching the Anglo-Welsh clash as though it were the same as any other and is urging his players to do the same.
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He said: "Our preparation has been really low key. We've not really focussed on the fact it is a derby.
"Our approach has been all about maintaining the things that have got us in a position where we have a chance to win games.
"The fact it's Cardiff, the fact it is a 1pm kick-off and the fact we're taking 2,000 fans are an irrelevance to us.
"No disrespect to our supporters or to Cardiff, but we have to look at the things we have done well and make sure we at least maintain those levels."
O'Driscoll's focus is on encouraging his team to reproduce the level of performance that yielded a 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest last time out.
He said: "I don't think we can ask any more than that they perform like they have over the past few games.
"It will be very difficult for us, but we have to try to maintain our level of performance. If we do that, we will give ourselves a chance.
"I agree with the adage that, in the Championship, any one side can beat any other side on any given day and at any given time. It is what we do and our approach to the game that matters."
Malky Mackay's Cardiff are eight points clear of nearest rivals Hull and have a game in hand. And the Bluebirds have only dropped five points at home all season.
O'Driscoll said: "Cardiff have got points and pulled away from the pack when nobody thought it could be done.
"Malky and his players deserve a lot of credit for being so many points clear. He has bought players who perform consistently well and they are a good unit.
"Their two standout players are Craig Bellamy and Peter Whittingham. You want your marquee players to set a good example and those two do just that.
"Craig's work-rate is exceptional and Peter is probably the best midfield player outside of the Premier League. Malky has two gems, while everybody else has been there, knows the Championship inside out and puts in consistent performances week-in and week-out.
"He has added Fraizer Campbell to it and has got a squad that fits together. If they are not playing well, he can change it and they can still pick up points.
"Those are all hallmarks of a successful side in the Championship or any other division."