AFTER my somewhat damning verdict on City manager Derek McInnes in last week’s article, I got the opportunity to hear from the man in person last week at a ‘Q & A’ session hosted by the club.

McInnes was certainly in a bullish mood and looked like a man under pressure, not surprising given the club’s league position. He was asked some pressing questions about his summer signings, tactics and team selections.

When asked if he had an action plan to get us out of trouble, he cited the reasons for us being in trouble was down to injuries (eight players currently) and having to work within a tighter wage budget. He didn’t give any details of how he envisaged us getting out of trouble, but insisted that the team would finish in a better position than last season come May.

Another key point of discussion was the announcement of club record losses, with City posting a £14.4m loss in the past year. Chairman Keith Dawe was clear in his view that this was not acceptable and that the clubs £18m wage bill would have to be slashed, eventually to around £8-10m in order to comply with the incoming Financial Fair Play regulations. Dawe, who runs a recruitment business himself, emphasised the importance of investing in youth development and scouting to get the best players to the club and not wasting money on overpaid journeymen as the club has been guilty of in recent years.

This approach sounds promising for the future, however, there is a worry in the short term that we are going to struggle as the club cuts its cloth. The reality of our situation has made me reassess my expectations for this season a little and survival would again be an achievement.

A couple of days later we got a big boost in that respect with a thrilling 3-2 away win at fellow strugglers Sheffield Wednesday, which temporarily lifts us out of the relegation zone.

We’ve now won away from home more times than we have at home this season. If we want to stay up then our home form must improve quickly; hopefully starting this Saturday when Derby County are the visitors to Ashton Gate. Derby are 10th in the league but have a fairly unremarkable away record, winning just twice on the road this season and scoring just eight times. Here’s hoping we can get back-to-back wins going into another big game at Ipswich just before Christmas.

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