"We are heading in the right direction" says Bristol City boss Sean O'Driscoll
Bristol City head coach Sean O’Driscoll is adamant his players are making very real progress in their fight for Championship survival.
The Robins may be propping up the table right now, but Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Blackpool represented a notable improvement on what had gone before.
Not only did O’Driscoll’s team register a first away clean sheet of the season, they also ended a depressing sequence of six successive defeats on the road, a record of under-achievement that was threatening to undermine all their good work at Ashton Gate.
City are now just two points adrift of safety, but O’Driscoll declared: “It is all about performances, not points.
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“The key to it all is being consistent and that is the most consistent we have been in a game from start to finish since I’ve been here.
“We cannot worry about outcomes, because it is performances that are important and we have to be consistent in those. That was another good performance and another step in the right direction.
“We were good against Barnsley last week, but then tailed off and conceded three goals. We’ve not tailed off this time and we’ve managed to keep a clean sheet away from home, which is something we have been striving for.
“There has been progress with every game ever since I first came to the club, starting with the opening 1-0 defeat at Leeds.
“There is now an understanding of what they need to do and they are taking little steps. They know what they have to so and they know how to do it, so it is coming along.”
Promotion-chasing Brighton and Middlesbrough visit Ashton Gate tomorrow and Saturday respectively and City have an opportunity to haul themselves out of the bottom three for the first time since O’Driscoll succeeded the sacked Derek McInnes in mid-January.
He added: “It is a quick turnaround and we now have to try and do it again against Brighton, who are a totally different team.
“Everybody has to switch on to what we have to do and then make sure they do it from the first to the last whistle.”
City’s head coach retained the side that defeated Barnsley 5-3 last time out, but must now decide whether to make changes to guard against the effects of tiredness.
Midfielder Cole Skuse and striker Sam Baldock were back in the squad at Blackpool after recovering from injury, while central defender Louis Carey is also expected to be available to face Brighton after several weeks spent on the sidelines nursing a knee problem.
O’Driscoll told The Post: “Tired legs are endemic in the Championship, because there are a lot of games on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
“You often see teams do well on the Saturday and then fall down on the Tuesday. It is one of those; do you change the team or keep it the same?
“Having players back from injury is good because, if we go a goal down, I now have the likes of Albert (Adomah) and Sam (Baldock) to come on if I need to gamble a bit.
“With Cole, It was nice to have an old experienced head to come on and help us see the game out.”