Bristol City, eh. We all know how it goes. Decent start to the season, lurk around the upper echelons of the Championship for a few weeks, only for a Bristol City spanking to put us firmly in our place.
Not this time. Things have changed a bit for both clubs. The irritatingly confident (although with good reason against us) Gary Johnson, has long-gone from the Bristol ship, while in our dugout we appear to have a chap who has one thing in his mind; win.
Now I’m not one way or the other with Boothroyd. You won’t find me waxing lyrical about him being our saviour, or slagging him rotten because he does his ties too fat. He’s our new boss who has had a bit of a mixed bag since arriving, but if he’s done one thing that has impressed me, it’s the removal of the negative rhetoric and mindset we became so used to.
For anyone who read my views last season, let’s just say I was none too keen on Christopher telling us that we were still rubbish and we shouldn’t expect much, 3 seasons on. Not for me. You’ve got to have aims, and from what we’ve heard so far, Boothroyd at least has a more positive view of what he wants from the team.
Agreed, the style of football is still way off what any of us fancy watching, but the application of the players on the pitch is much more to our liking. It’s the little things that I notice, personally. Like the reaction of our players when we score a goal. Last year, we’d score a goal to salvage a point at home to Derby (or someone equally tame) and have Elliott Ward cupping his ears, giddy as a schoolgirl, believing he was Eric Cantona reincarnated.
Just look at the goal Ben Turner scored on Saturday and notice the difference. As soon as the ball went in, he was galloping back to the half-way line ready to continue the job. Think back to the equalising goal at Watford and Gunny running straight for the ball, believing we could go on and get another. If Boothroyd’s done anything so far, he’s got them aiming a lot higher than they were last year.
By all accounts our performance against Bristol was nothing special, and yes we had to ride our luck near the end (nothing wrong with that). But what it showed once again was our resilience, which has been surprisingly prevalent so far.
All we need now is for the rest of our squad to realise that being injured is rubbish, and you never know, we might just be getting somewhere.