By Tony Leighton
Bristol City are deep in the Sky Bet League 1 relegation zone but, says recently appointed manager Steve Cotterill, there will be no fear factor in his team's approach to their meeting with top of the table Brentford on Tuesday evening.
Three days after losing at third-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers the Robins travel to Griffin Park for what most League 1 followers would say will be their toughest test of the season so far. But Cotterill is not like most football followers.
"I don't know if it will be our toughest game because we haven't played them yet," Cotterill told football-league.co.uk. "But it could end up being their toughest game, couldn't it? We're looking forward to it."
Cotterill's positivity stems from the way that his team have fared since he took over at Ashton Gate in early December, the Robins having gone five League 1 games unbeaten before Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Molineux.
"The players have been great in what's been a real tough run since I've been here," he said. "We've had to play promotion-chasing teams like Rotherham, MK Dons, Walsall and Wolves, and now we've got Brentford.
"We've not had an easy game since I've been here - mind you, I don't know what an easy game is because I don't think there is an easy game these days. But we've played some really good football and we're fine confidence-wise."
Playing good football is the way that the experienced 49-year-old manager, now at his eighth club, firmly believes will take the Robins upwards from the relegation zone and ensure that they are still in League 1 next season.
"We've been playing out from the back from the minute I came in the door and we will continue to do that," insisted Cotterill. "The football will be the same no matter where we are in the table. We are not going to change our principles."
City's football will be put to the most stringent of tests at Brentford, who are on a 16-match unbeaten run. But Cotterill is undaunted as he asks his players for a repeat performance of Saturday's - even though they lost to Wolves.
"The scoreline didn't do us justice," he reckoned. "We were the better team for long periods and it will be tough for Brentford when we've got the ball. If we carry on playing like we did on Saturday, the results will come."
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