By Tony Leighton
Bristol City's former Cardiff City goalkeeper Tom Heaton is hoping that his old club will win promotion to the Premier League this season - but he has no intention of letting the npower Championship's clear leaders take points off the relegation threatened Robins when the teams clash on Saturday.
Seven months after moving to Ashton Gate from the Welsh capital, Heaton is set to make his first return to the Cardiff City Stadium for a fixture that will provide the sternest of tests for the Robins as they look to build on the improvement in form they have shown under new manager Sean O'Driscoll.
Three wins have been picked up in the five games played since O'Driscoll took charge, cutting the gap on the safety places to three points with 15 matches remaining. Heaton told football-league.co.uk: "A few weeks ago things were looking bleak for us, but now there's a real positivity about the place.
"We've become a much harder team to break down, confidence is climbing and we'll be going to Cardiff believing we can get a result even though we're still in the relegation zone and they're at the top of the table and eight points clear of second place with a game in hand - that's some lead at this stage of the season.
"They're a fantastic team and if I was a betting man I'd put my money on them going up. I hope they do - they've been so close to winning promotion in the last few years, they're a club moving in the right direction and with the brilliant fans they've got I'd be very pleased for them if they get into the Premier League.
"I enjoyed my two years at the club, but you move on in football and I'm happy to be a Bristol City player. I'm playing regular first team football, we're on the up and I'll be going back to Cardiff feeling good about the team I'm playing for now and feeling that we can get a result to keep our good run going."
The Robins' current run - three wins from their last four games - is their best of the season and has included back-to-back wins for the first time since August, when they followed a 4-1 home victory over promotion contenders Crystal Palace with a 4-2 success against Cardiff, also at Ashton Gate.
"We started the season really well and got ourselves in motion," reflected Heaton, "but then we got into a rut. We're out of it now though, and if we can go to Cardiff and get a result - and hopefully complete what would be a fantastic double - that would really help us on the way to moving up the table."
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