The Pressure Remains
Sure, we can all take heart from the win at Middlesborough, the commitment and improvement in form shown there and against Chelski. But the challenge at Newcastle a week on saturday will give us a clearer indication of whether or not Stuart Pearce and his team have turned the previously stumbling ship around.
The importance of that crucial win at the Riverside was underlined by victories for Charlton and The Hammers. This could be an indication that both teams are embarking on a run for survival and City must be equal to that challenge, nevermind that of other clubs around us.
Before some of us hang out too much bunting post Middlesborough and the management continue to wax lyrical about the 'picture changing drastically,' the six point gap remains and so does the pressure associated with it.
We must also remind ourselves of the fact that Middlesborough did rest a handful of players and had one eye firmly fixed on the multi-million pound fuelled rags in the FA Cup. The track record under Pearce is woeful and that's going to take some serious redressing should he fully intend to hold on to his post as our manager.
The picture will certainly 'change drastically' again should City lose at Newcastle so once again, that game must be treated as yet another cup final.
Still, there are a number of positives we can take from the last two games. Chiefly the inclusion of the increasingly impressive Emile Mpenza leading our frontline could well be Pearce's saving grace through until May should he improve his fitness and maintain the form he has shown.
This City team owe us a solid run of good results and continued commitment to the cause and there are still battles ahead that could genuinely lift our club before a summer of potentially enormous change.
I personally maintain that I admire Stuart Pearce as an honest professional but for our club to seriously move forward believe that he should either depart for the England Under 21's in May or be accepting of an experienced international manager coming in to oversee team matters whilst he reverts to first team coach. I am certainly not alone with this view now the Middlesborough win has apparantly secured his position with us until the end of the season. Once again, I invite Pearce and his backroom staff to prove us wrong.