Big Sam on Bristol City

The manager is expecting his team to keep their good run going on Tuesday night against Bristol City but knows it will be another stern test.

Big Sam was confident but cautious as he discussed his options for the visit of the npower Championship's bottom club to the Boleyn, and will tell his men that the points have to be earned from the first whistle. He may well have Carlton Cole back in contention, while he will have to monitor the fitness of Abdoulaye Faye after he was substituted in Saturday's victory by the odd goal in five against Leicester City.

You have lost your last two Tuesday night fixtures...

SA: We lost here at home to Ipswich and we lost 1-0 to a corner at Southampton so we have got to do better.

The games come thick and fast. We have to recover as best we can. Tuesday night's have been an achilles heel for us. We have got Bristol City and the expectation is that we will have an easy win but it will be far from that in reality. They have a new manager, and he will reorganise them in a different way. That will be a tough game and getting more players back out on the field is very important to us.

How pleased are you with your squad as a whole?

SA: I am delighted with the squad because it is so short on numbers. At the end of the day, we are continuing to go forward. It is back to back wins. We knew this was a big week coming up before the international break and we have got off to a great start in terms of this week coming up by winning against Leicester.

They are going to have to turn out and do three games this week which is what we probably wouldn't want to do if we can help it but it looks like we will have to.

It is important to keep the winning habit, isn't it?

SA: We have to try to keep the momentum going. Somewhere along the lines you hope the results will go on and become a really good run of results. We have put ourselves in a position now to do that. Of course, handling the pressure of that and being at the top is a big one. Being expected to be winners every week brings a pressure in itself and that is what they are going to have to cope with.

Carlton Cole is getting close to a return which will give you a dilemma up front?

SA: Carlton may find it hard to get back in the side initially but we will probably start by feeding him in off the bench. He has had a few weeks out now and won't have played a competitive game of football for a while. It will be nice to have him on the bench for Tuesday hopefully with a bit of luck. It will be nice to have anyone back with our injuries at the moment.

Tell us more about how you signed Sam Baldock?

SA: A small, nippy quick one is something that we didn't have. We had Carlton Cole, John Carew and Freddie Piquionne, who are all bigger centre-forwards. Sam is that little lad who gets between the full-back and the centre-half, looks to get in behind. He scored three when I went to watch him so I came back pretty excited and the price started going up. Lots of other clubs came in for him. We just pipped Southampton at the death.

I went to Norwich to watch him because I thought what a test that would be in the Carling Cup and they won. He scored a great goal from outside the box. I said to the Chairman 'look we have really got to get him'. He was unproven, he is stepping up a division but for me a goalscorer is a goalscorer and if he gets used to the pace of this league, he has got the right qualities with the right partners to be very, very good.

We were going well when he first came and we were playing with a 4-3-3 rather than a 4-4-2 because we didn't have that option. He gives us that option. Certainly for Blackpool and against Leicester he has been an outstanding purchase. Hopefully he can continue what he has done in the last two home games.

How pleased are you with Julien Faubert's form?

SA: Julien has a smile on his face at last. He has done a terrific job and the quality of his finishing for the second goal was great. It was something we have worked at. It is great when you see what we have worked on in training pay off.

Bristol City are bottom of the division. What are you expecting?

SA: It won't be easy. Bristol City won at Barnsley [on Saturday] so they have tightened up the defensive area but we are going to have to get the players up for it and make sure we deliver the type of performances we have been given to win it.

Anything less than that in any of these games and you know anyone can beat anybody . Bristol City will take a great deal of confidence from having a new manager. We enjoyed Saturday night but we woke up on Sunday focused. The players had to go home, stay in and get ready to make sure they recover as quickly as they can.

Back to back wins hasn't happened too often for us and now we have to look forward. Every game is going to be a difficult game, everyone we have faced has been difficult. You need quality to make the difference, like Sam Baldock was the difference on Saturday.

Let's hope we are still on the goal trail on Tuesday, and tighten up the defence obviously so the old heart doesn't pound as much in the last few minutes as it did on Saturday.