View From T'Other Side: Bristol City

Last updated : 23 March 2010 By Rob Miles (BarnsleyBoy)

It’s been a big week at Ashton Gate this week with Gary Johnson leaving after nearly five years in charge. Do you agree with that decision?

Reluctantly yes. There’s no doubting the good work Johnson has done for us over the last five years, but we've been on a downward spiral for over a year now, and he has to take the blame for the lack of organisation, professionalism and spirit amongst the squad. Things had gone stale and he had lost the dressing room. A change was definitely needed.

A lot would say its been a poor season for City so far, but is that a fair assessment or do you think that maybe a play-off final and a top ten finish in your first two seasons was an over achievement?

Our playoff season raised expectations amongst our fans, perhaps to unrealistic levels. We certainly overachieved in that season given that we'd just been promoted and were up against teams with much bigger budgets.

We were never going to be able to keep up that sort of form, but there is no denying that this has been a pretty poor season for us. Some of our performances have been utterly woeful and the style of football has been dull and negative. Luckily, the odd flash in the pan good performance has kept us out of trouble.

And saying that, what would you accept as a respectable finish come May?

I'd be more than happy to finish around where we are now... 15th or 16th will do nicely! The most important thing is to stay in this division and consolidate until the new stadium arrives and we can look to push forward again.

You have an ex red at Ashton Gate now- Jamal Campbell-Ryce. As well as his sending off how is he settling in?

Hit and miss. In our recent away games vs. Reading and Plymouth, JCR was the only player that deserved any credit from what were terrible team performances. However, his inability or unwillingness to track back when necessary has resulted in our midfield being terribly exposed - which has led to some heavy defeats. Overall he's certainly a promising player that I'm pleased to have in our squad.

Bristol City have experienced some real extreme results this season- such as losing 5-2 and 6-1 at home, but then on Saturday proved for 45 minutes at least you can compete with the best in the division, is it inconsistency that’s blighted City this season or something deeper?

It’s a mixture of lots of things. Our luck with injuries has been pretty awful. Elliott, Carey, Sproule, Haynes, Clarkson and Sno have all been sidelined for large chunks of the season which hasn’t helped. But I think it’s been more down to the fact that Gary Johnson constantly changed our formation with players regularly played out of position. As a result, we have often looked disjointed and disorganised.

Realistically who would you like to see next in the Ashton Gate hot-seat and why?

The fans choices seem to be Curbishley, Coppell and O Driscoll. I think all are realistic targets and I’d be happy with any of them.

Which player in the Robins squad has stood out this season, and who won’t you be shedding any tears about if he left this summer?

It’s difficult to single out consistent performers in a season of such inconsistency! Cole Skuse, one of our academy products seems to be getting better and better every season.

On the other side of the coin, I doubt too many of our fans will be sad to see the back of Alvaro Saborio, or Patrick Agyemang. Both absolutely woeful signings, another reason why Johnson lost the support of the fans.

Who in the Barnsley team do you admire most?

The two players that have really stood out in our last meetings with Barnsley were JCR and Anderson De Silva! Interestingly, one is now at BCFC and the other was a target for us in the summer.

Score prediction for Tuesday?

Barnsley always provide a stiff challenge at Ashton Gate.. We still look defensively suspect and I’m inclined to say another score draw is the most likely result. Ill go for 1-1.

Where do you see Bristol City and Barnsley finishing come May?

Mark Robins has done a great job in turning things around for Barnsley. I'd say that a top half finish is well within your reach. I think we'll probably finish a few places behind in about 15th or 16th.