"Regardless of who the manager is, this was alwaysgoing to be a tough game for us. It makes it a bit more unpredictable in terms of what they are going to do."
That is what Bristol City manager Derek McInnes said about Bolton following the sacking of Owen Coyle ahead of tomorrow's Championship clash. Well, Derek, I'm fairly confident we'll all be a little surprised to more as none of us really know just how much will change with the first team for their first match under Jimmy Phillips and Sammy Lee.
McInnes, a personal friend of Owen Coyle's, commiserated with the former Bolton Manager:
"Nothing surprises me in football these days. I think the decision was harsh and was probably based on the aftermath of last season.
"On a personal level, I'm gutted for Owen and his staff. He is a very good person and a very good manager, someone who I think will go on to be a success in his next job.
"He made an okay start to the season, but that is not enough when you have just come down from the Premier League and he has paid the ultimate price."
"They have a lot of options and I think we will see some change from the last four or five games, but it is all about what we do."
The Bristol City boss then said that he wants his team to show more grit and strength than they did in their last run out, a 2-0 loss away to Leicester City. In their last seven games, the Robins have won just once.
"I don't want there to be any fear. I was disappointed that we did not make a better fist of it against Leicester. As good as they were, we still felt we only did okay. I wanted us to be a bit more positive.
"I think the players will relish playing in a big stadium against good players, but they have to realise they are not there merely to take part in the game.
"I want us to go there (to Bolton) with the mind-set that, if we play at the top of our game, we can ask questions of them. As strong as Bolton are, they have not been in the same form as Leicester. When you go away from home, you need a lot of qualities and a real conviction."
Like Bolton Wanderers, Bristol City have also had a tough time of keeping clean sheets. They have not kept a single team scoreless this season (to Bolton's one clean sheet, coming at home against Derby County). In order to address the problem, the Robins have brought back Stephen McManus, a 30-year-old central defender from Middlesbrough. McManus spent a few matches with Bristol last season, also on loan from Boro, but was recalled due to his parent club's injury concerns. The fresh loan went through yesterday and will last three months:
"We have to defend a bit more purposefully and make sure that, whenever we are called upon to clear our lines, we play the percentages and have a real concentration about us.
"Stephen gives us real presence, lots of experience and excellent leadership qualities. He is the type who relishes adversity and backs-to-the-wall defending. We feel he is a good person to boot and has the qualities we need right now."