City Chat: Steve Cotterill set the team up well at Tamworth

11:00am Friday 13th December 2013

STEVE COTTERILL started with a win as his new team coped admirably with non-leaguers Tamworth in the FA Cup.

The 2-1 win has secured a home draw in the third round against Championship Watford. It’s not the glamour tie that we wanted but they will be a good test for City and, who knows, by then we might be organised enough to cause an upset.

The new manager set the team up well to cope with the expected aerial bombardment from the non-leaguers. Time and again Jay Emmanuel-Thomas won the first header. He also crashed in another thunderbolt shot, something that is rapidly becoming his trademark.

Apart from being caught once on the break, City never looked troubled and we should have been out of sight by then.

It’s not clear to me that Tamworth’s stoppage time consolation was over the line but it won’t be in my lifetime that goal line technology goes this far down the football pyramid. I did not begrudge them a goal on their big day.

I know it was only non-league opposition but I liked the way Cotterill set the team up. I liked the passion he showed, and I saw early signs that he is a leader off the field.

He has done his homework, recognising that Marvin Elliott’s days as a box-to-box player have gone, but that he can still do a good holding job.

For the first time in weeks, I am feeling optimistic that we have a manager who can organise and motivate a bunch of individual talents performing well below their potential at this level, and turn them into a team to pull us out of the mire.

The next four games are vital. Failure to get around nine points from Rotherham (h), Notts County (a), Walsall (h) and Stevenage (h) will leave City in real trouble.

I fancy Cotterill knows what is required and we will see the same players, but playing in a different system that is more direct and harder for teams to break down. We like the ball on the grass at Ashton Gate but needs must.

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