My oh my, what a turnaround we have seen at Ashton Gate. After looking dead and buried just a few weeks ago, Sean O’Driscoll has transformed the fortunes of the club and provided fans with genuine hope and belief that they will be playing Championship football again next season.
This weekend the Bristol outfit travel to Molineux for an old fashioned six pointer. With only goal difference separating the two clubs in the table, whoever comes out victorious on Saturday will be sensing survival.
Bristol City fans will remain cautious however. They will be aware how far their team has come in such a short time. It wasn’t long ago that confidence had shattered through the team, with players reluctant to accept even the minimum requirement that is possession of the football. Now is a whole new environment. Players are playing with a freedom, a discipline to work hard and keep their shape, but express themselves as footballers when the opportunity to do so presents itself.
O’Driscoll treats his players like adults. He has trust that if they perform as he asks, with each player doing the job essential for him, then ultimately the results will be positive. The more positive outcomes you get during the 90 minutes, the better the chance of a three point return. And who can argue with this? Since his arrival, the squad have displayed play off form. Three successive clean sheets have arrived for the first time since December 2010. That isn’t good luck. Anybody fortunate enough to know just a little about the game will understand that organisation, teamwork, communication and a resolve are key to earning clean sheets.
Going forward there is a wealth of options available, particularly as the gaffer is versatile to his chosen formation. With the work horse Jon Stead leading the line so well, Steven Davies has had to settle for a bit part role, but played the role perfectly, chipping in with goals to ease the strain. With Marvin Elliott back to somewhere near the form he displayed in 2008, Albert Adomah itching to prove his worth and Sam Baldock back from injury, there is certainly strength in depth to call upon.
This strength of depth will be tested to the full on Saturday when a hectic schedule reaches its temporary conclusion. With an international break to come, City go into the game off the back of a pressure-easing return of four points from six at home, almost perfect, and with confidence at a season time high.
A sell-out travelling contingent will be in attendance hoping to roar their heroes onto victory, although the meticulous thinker O’Driscoll may be happy to simply carry on the unbeaten run, knowing that all of a sudden, time is on his side to complete The Great Escape.
Written by Lee Molland, We Are Going Up’s Bristol City blogger
Lee tweets at @molls28