Tom Heaton: Bristol City keeper sees renewed confidence

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Heaton to keep head above water

Bristol City goalkeeper Tom Heaton says the arrival of boss Sean O'Driscoll has brought confidence back to the squad.

Head coach O'Driscoll succeeded Derek McInnes at Ashton Gate in January, when the club were eight points adrift of safety in the Championship.

Although they are bottom of the table, they are now just two points off Barnsley in 21st.

"It's amazing what a new face with a few new ideas can do to a club," Heaton, 26, told BBC Points West.

"We've been excellent since the new manager's come in. I think the potential we showed at the start of the season is coming into fruition.

"We're on a good run and hopefully we can keep it going to avoid relegation."

A former Manchester United trainee, Heaton was signed by McInnes in the summer, following his release from Cardiff, and established himself as first-choice keeper.

However, he was under pressure in the first half of the season, as City failed to keep a clean sheet in 29 games and fell deeper in to relegation danger.

McInnes was sacked after their 4-0 defeat by Leicester on 12 January and O'Driscoll was appointed three days later.

Since then, City have won five and drawn two in 11 games, keeping five clean sheets in the process.

"We always felt we had the ability in the team, and at times under Derek we were excellent. At other times we let ourselves down," continued Heaton.

"When you get a new manager, everyone starts with a clean slate. The past is erased and everyone is pulling their weight to try and get in the team.

"I think he's organised us differently and now we are very hard to beat. Everyone has taken to it really well and it's had a positive effect on the club."

And Heaton is enjoying working under O'Driscoll's rule: "At the moment we're looking to get three clean sheets on the bounce, which is a million miles away from where we were.

"It's a great feeling and certainly a great learning curve.

"I've personally really taken to him and I think all the other lads have as well. He's different to the people I've worked with before but I'm a big fan."

Bristol City face relegation rivals Wolves on Saturday and a win for either side could lift them out of the drop zone. Despite their precarious position, Heaton says is confident of survival.

"If we get our performances and results right then I think we'll be fine," he added. "We need to switch off to what other people are doing, and that includes Saturday.

"It's obviously a massive game but every game has been massive for us for the past 10, because of the situation we are in.

"I'm sure the plan will come together and we'll avoid relegation."