COTTERILL BELIEVES HIS RISING ROBINS CAN KEEP CLIMBIING
BRISTOL CITY boss Steve Cotterill reckons his side can reach the top half before the season’s out after his side’s dramatic ascent up the League One table continued with this win at Walsall.
Languishing in the bottom four when Cotterill took over in December, City reached the magical 50-point barrier thanks to Sam Baldock’s penalty in first-half stoppage time.
And while admitting he’s already planning for a pro- motion push next season, Cotterill still has ambitions for this campaign, namely the tenth-placed spot currently held by the beaten Saddlers.
Cotterill said: “We’ve got four games left to play and we want to see if we can end up getting ourselves in and around that top ten area.
“That would be fantastic to come from 23rd/24th to there. We should be top half next season – we probably should have been this season and we
still can be. We’ve already been quietly planning ahead. What we need to make sure is that we try to recruit well, that’s the key to this summer .
“If we can add wisely to the players we’ve already got, I’d be really disappointed if we weren’t in the top half next season.”
Walsall had much the better of the first half but the only time they worked City keeper Simon Moore was when he pushed aside Sam Mantom’s deflected 30-yard free-kick.
City, meanwhile, offered little but were gifted the lead on the stroke of half-time – Baldock was going nowhere when he was felled by Andy Taylor and gratefully slammed home the penalty.
Walsall had a chance to level from the spot 11 minutes into the second half but Mantom’s weak spot-kick was saved by Moore after Greg Cunningham pulled down Saddlers striker Michael Ngoo.
And Moore foiled the hosts’ best other chance of rescuing a point late on, superbly tipping over a 25yard rocket from Nicky Featherstone.
“We’re not going to make the play-offs now, which is disappointing, but it’s disappointing that we’ve got beaten at home because we didn’t deserve to,” said Saddlers boss Dean Smith.
“We feel like a robbery has been committed because they didn’t deserve it.
“It’s the story of the season – we had all the possession, controlled the game, controlled the tempo but just didn’t put the ball in the back of the net. The performance was ok up until the final third.”
And the Saddlers boss felt the penalty should not have been, adding: “Andy Taylor toes the ball away and Baldock throws himself down.”