AN EXHILARATING 5-0 show against Port Vale on Tuesday night has lifted City up to 13th place.

Say it quietly, but City are going to retain their place in League One this year, when for much of the season we have looked in serious trouble. The turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable and it’s worth looking at why this has happened.

For me there are three reasons, the first being Steve Cotterill. Not everyone’s choice when he replaced Sean O’Driscoll, he quickly identified that we were lacking in experience, organisation and to an extent motivation. You can’t listen to Steve for a minute without smiling, being lifted and generally enthused. He has used his many contacts to bring in players with experience and Elliott and Nosworthy, both loanees, have added class to the midfield and defence respectively.

The second reason is Steve Lansdown. The manager could not have done any of this without his total financial backing. Mr Lansdown cleared City’s debts and no sooner was he putting that cheque book away than he had to pull it out again. Loanees do not come cheap but without them, we would not be pulling clear of trouble.

The third reason is that somehow we have the best two strikers in the league and the best pairing in JET and Baldock that we have seen in Bristol for decades. The manager makes JET play to a plan now rather that the free role he enjoyed earlier but on his game he is Premiership class. Baldock is also firing and between them they have over 40 goals. Only five teams better the 61 goals we have scored in the league this season. Holding onto that pairing in the summer will be difficult and they would be very hard to replace.

The stadium redevelopment starts in May, and for the first time in several seasons, perhaps we can say fortunes are about to change. A good test at promotion-chasing Rotherham on Saturday will be another measure of how far we have come in recent weeks.