KIERON Agard’s arrival at Ashton Gate is a huge statement of intent from the owner and the manager and our rivals in our League have sat up and noticed.

An even bigger statement was that a player for whom we paid close to £1m is still awaiting his debut. Steve Cotterill named his new man on the bench at Rochdale and that is where is stayed.

While some supporters found this perplexing, I thought it was sensible. He will need time to settle in.

Each of the new arrivals is strengthening the squad. Ayling looks a fine player and I love his runs forward, reminding me of Louis Carey in his heyday. There is so much to be optimistic about. Aden Flint, back from injury, looks a rock in defence. Elliott is a great playmaker. The players look like they believe in themselves and this is transmitting itself to the fans.

We have had precious little to cheer since that play-off final six years ago but Cotterill has built what appears to be a team that will challenge, and he has done it in a relatively short time with great support from above him.

Rochdale came close to winning on Saturday and Frankie Fielding, again not everybody’s choice as a permanent No1, made a magnificent save in added time. After Freeman’s opener I thought we could go on and win it but the second half belonged to the home side and in the end a point was a fair return. It has been a solid start and a largely new group of players will improve.

City’s next game is at Notts County on Sunday afternoon. Cotterill is loyal and City are unbeaten so don’t be surprised to see an unchanged team. It’s another game where City will have an expectation to gain at least a point. The difference this season is that when I look at the fixtures I see points and last year I reached the stage where I could not see a point coming from anywhere.

Let’s look at the table again after 10 games. If we have 20 points we can start to believe.