Steve Cotterill glowed with pride after his Bristol City team completed a tough eight days of fixtures by returning to the top of Sky Bet League 1.Having lost narrowly to West Ham United in the FA Cup last Sunday and reached Wembley in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy by overcoming Gillingham on Thursday, a third home game in quick succession proved a test of mental and physical fitness.
But after an anxious opening half-hour, Cotterill's men rose to the challenge and second-half goals from Matt Smith and substitute Jay Emmanuel-Thomas sealed three more precious points.
The manager said: "I couldn't be more proud of my lads. I love them all to bits and you couldn't ask for a more committed and ambitious group of players.
"It took them half an hour to overcome some heavy legs. But I felt we controlled the final 15 minutes and the whole of the second half.
"After two huge cup occasions, this was the most important game of the week in my view. If I had selected the same team for each match we might well have lost it.
"I took some risks in using almost all our fit men over the three fixtures and the players got me off the hook. They are such an honest bunch and that is why our supporters love them so much."