Drury doubtful with knee ligament injury

CHRIS LAKEY Jim Duffy reflected on that old favourite, missed opportunities, as his role as caretaker manager got off to a losing start on Saturday.


Jim Duffy reflected on that old favourite, missed opportunities, as his role as caretaker manager got off to a losing start on Saturday.

Having seen his side squander a whole host of opportunities in the opening quarter of an hour, Duffy could only watch as they once again fell victim to a pair of sucker punches.

Darren Huckerby's first goal of the season - and City's first in all football for more than 10½ hours - on 82 minutes should have rescued a point after Michael McIndoe's opener just after half-time. But two goals in the final five - one a slice that went in off a post, the second an exquisite piece of work by Lee Trundle - condemned City to their fifth defeat in their last six Championship games.

It might all have been different had the law of averages been on John Hartson's side - and had Adam Drury not blasted the best chance of the game way over the cross bar.

"We started off well," reflected Duffy. "The first half was decent, I thought, for the majority of the time. What you have to try and do is capitalise on that, in that period of the match.

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"We had probably three or four very good chances to score, their keeper made a couple of good saves and we missed a couple of relatively easy chances, but that is something I am not going to be over critical on because we haven't really been creating chances at all, so it's nice at least to create them.

"A little bit of sharpness and a little bit of confidence and I think we will score one or two goals. It makes an enormous difference to the players when you do that and it makes an enormous difference to the atmosphere in the crowd and everything, because everyone gets a lift.

"The first half I thought we were fine, of course there were one or two patches - Bristol City are a very good side and they came into the match, but overall it was pleasing.

"But the match doesn't last 45 minutes, it lasts 90 and after the lapse of concentration at the start of the second half, where we lost the goal, you are then asking questions of the team again - can they respond to that?

"It took us a little while, nearly 10, 15 minutes just to start getting into the match again. Bristol City kept it and kept it and kept us off the ball - we didn't get any supply to the front players and that took us time, but give credit, they eventually got us back into it again with the equaliser and I think the goal Scott Murray scored was a bit fortuitous, to say the least - but I suppose if he doesn't have a go at it he isn't going to get a chance to score. I think he sliced it, didn't quite catch it right and it went in and it was a bit fortuitous - I think when that goal went in it definitely deflated the team."

Hartson's lack of sharpness was obvious - the Welshman had played just two reserve games for West Brom before Saturday, and hadn't featured in a league game since February.

"John himself said he should have scored a couple of goals and he knew that, but just that little bit of sharpness is maybe missing," said Duffy. "He took up good positions in the box and was getting himself into good areas, not just for himself but to bring other players into play as well.

"We know that, we can't be too critical of John - he has come here to try and lift us, to try and give us different options up front, which I think he did do today. We know he is not at the fitness levels yet which we would hope for, but I still think we created more chances today probably in the first 30 minutes than we have created in the last four matches.

"I think a lot of that has to do with the link-up play between David Strihavka and John - I thought David played very well, his touch was good, his movement was good. Those parts of it were pleasing."