Championship So Far: Bristol City
It would be fair to say that Derek McInnes had his hands well and truly tied behind his back last season, after he took over from Keith Millen with City languishing in the relegation zone. While he managed to save them from the drop in relatively comfortable fashion, the pressure was always going to be cranked up for this season as he bid to put his own stamp on the Robins.
Unfortunately, it looks as though he has struggled to mastermind any wholesale improvement, with City seen as big candidates for the drop as they currently sit bottom of the Championship.
Any City fan should probably look away now ahead of this section, with City’s results over recent months being absolutely disastrous. There was plenty of optimism at the start of the season, with the Ashton Gate outfit managing to record two victories from their opening three games. Moreover, these weren’t any old wins, but they were comprehensive 4-1 and 4-2 results over high-flying Crystal Palace and Cardiff respectively.
Unfortunately, these were the only shining lights in a truly miserable season and as this piece is being written, City are on a run of seven straight losses. These defeats haven’t been against hugely strong opposition as well, with the likes of lowly Charlton and Birmingham taking points off the Robins over recent weeks.
The Summer Buys
After suffering huge financial losses over the past couple of years, Derek McInnes was quite restricted in the transfer market through the summer. However, he did manage to bring in several players and actually paid significant fees for strikers Sam Baldock and Steve Davies. It would be fair to say that the former started his City career on fire and after scoring four times in his opening four games, there were hopes he could be the key replacement for Nicky Maynard who left last year. However, his form over recent months has been poor and he’s managed just one goal since mid-September – meaning the jury is still out.
It’s gone the other way for Davies meanwhile, who has managed an impressive six goals in his last seven matches. Bearing this in mind, it’s clear that both players have clear potential and if they can correlate their form, there could be a chance of City experiencing success.
Elsewhere, George Elokobi managed just one game before having his season prematurely ended due to a dislocated ankle, while nobody quite knows what has happened to Jody Morris with the former Chelsea midfielder making just two appearances despite arriving with a decent reputation.
The same can be said of Paul Anderson, who just hasn’t managed to get a look in and with other signings Mark Wilson and Greg Cunningham struggling for form and fitness, it looks as though Tom Heaton is one of the few who have made a solid impression after starting all but two of the club’s league games.
Bearing the above in mind, it is clear to see that most of McInnes’ recruits have really struggled and this could be the big reason why City are in the lowly position they find themselves in.
It is clear to see that Bristol City are set for a long, hard season and it could take something of a miracle for them to avoid the drop. Derek McInnes should have plenty of sympathy as the Ashton Gate outfit are not blessed with huge resources anymore, yet some of his signings are still bewildering.
Nevertheless, on a slightly more positive note, if he can get the likes of Baldock and Davies playing well together City might have an outside chance of survival.