Date:Thursday September 16 2010
City boss Keith Millen finds himself under a lot of pressure following a dismal start to the season.
With the club in turmoil following Steve Coppell's decision to bottle out of another challenge, Millen was swiftly promoted from his role as assistant.
Nobody had any problems with his appointment at the time, as he was seen as the right man to stabalise a club in turmoil.
After all, he won five games out of nine in a caretaker role following Gary Johnson's departure at the back end of last season, so he's shown that he's got something about him that suggests he is up to the job.
Back then, Millen immediately decided to change the system and settled on a bold version of 3-5-2. The leadership of Louis Carey orchastrated the back three with the pace of Christian Ribeiro and Liam Fontaine either side of him.
The tactical change reaped the rewards as Millen claimed 18 points from the nine Championship games left, losing only once. He was largely responsible for lifting the gloom around the Gate.
Fast forward to the present day and I see a good City man who's struggling to emerge out of the shadow of Gary Johnson and Steve Coppell.
Not once this season has he adopted that 3-5-2 system that brought him success as caretaker six months ago, instead he's chosen to go with a ridiculously open 4-4-2 and with square pegs in square holes!
The 4-4-2 was clearly Coppell's influence but the choices such as playing Cole Skuse on the left-wing for the Watford game reminded me of Johnson's baffling tactical decisions that had everyone banging their heads against the wall.
Now, with another must-win home game against Coventry on the horizon - a home banker in previous seasons - Millen needs to get back to basics, and fast.
Get back to the 3-5-2 formation that served him so well last year, dropping the absymal Nicky Hunt, the sluggish Damion Stewart and one of the three holding midfielders (one from Cisse, Skuse or Elliott) would be an ideal place to start the recovery.
Carey needs to come back in to lead the side in central defence, as he's the only natural leader on the pitch after Paul Hartley left for Aberdeen in the summer.
Christian Ribeiro also needs to play. His pace and composure in defence were a real plus point last season, for both player and manager.
We've finally signed a left-winger - a bloody good one at that - in Danny Rose, so unleash him from the left-side with the impressive Albert Adomah on the right. Let them get forward and do what they do best.
Finally, Lee Johnson needs to come back into the midfield.
I never thought I would say this, as I'm not his biggest fan, but he is the only central midfielder currently at the club that can create something and he simply HAS to play.
Millen can't keep throwing money at the team, he needs to work with what he's got. My personal opinion is that he's got a stronger squad at his disposal than in previous seasons but, if he fails to stand up, be his own man and learn quickly then I reckon the fans may turn on him pretty sharply and I dread to think where we might be headed for come May.
Do you agree or disagree with this article? Tell us what you think is going wrong at the moment and what you would do to sort it out in the comment box below.
Date:Thursday September 16 2010
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|19. MK Dons||10||2||2||6||-5||8|
|24. Bristol City||10||1||4||5||-8||7|
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