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Baldock hails boss Cotterill for his backing

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 15, 2014

Bristol City front man Sam Baldock

Bristol City front man Sam Baldock

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Bristol City sharp-shooter Sam Baldock insists he could not have landed the League One Golden Boot without the backing of Steve Cotterill.

The former MK Dons and West Ham marksman finished the campaign as top-scorer in the third tier after bagging 24 goals to finish one ahead of Peterborough United's Britt Assombalonga.

But the 25-year-old is the first to admit he owes his place at the top of the goal charts to the City manager, who showed faith in him when he was at his lowest ebb.

A meagre return of one goal in 15 games between the end of August and mid-November undermined confidence and caused Baldock to doubt himself for the first time in his career. However, Cotterill remained supportive, giving the striker the belief to come good in the end.

"The manager showed a lot of faith in me and, when times were hard, he backed me to score goals," said the £1 million signing.

"He knows that I'll give 100 percent every game and that, if I get myself into the box, I will get on the end of things. He gave me the belief that I could score and create and I took that onto the pitch with me."

Baldock scored 18 of his 26 goals in all competitions following Cotterill's arrival in December and recalls a home game against his former club, MK Dons, in January as a major turning point.

A series of first-half misses brought criticism from a section of the Ashton Gate crowd and the manager could easily have made a change at half- time, but Cotterill took Baldock aside for a one-on-one pep talk and backed him to score in the second half.

"It was a massive turnaround," revealed Baldock, who netted twice in the second period as the Robins came from behind to claim a 2-2 draw. "I'd gone in at half-time with my head down having missed a couple of chances I would have usually put my house on. But he (Cotterill) turned around and said to me that I wasn't coming off, no matter what. Then I went out in the second half and got a couple of goals, and really kicked on from there.

"Every player needs the support of his manager and I've certainly had that."

Meanwhile, City winger Wes Burns could line up against England next week after being called up by Wales Under-21s.

The Academy product has been named in Geraint Williams' 18-man squad for the UEFA Euro 2015 qualifier at Swansea City's Liberty Stadium on Monday (7.30pm).

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