I'm embarrassed by losing run – Bristol City manager Derek McInnes
Bristol City manager Derek McInnes admits that he is embarrassed by his team's wretched run of results.
Second from bottom of the Championship and without a win in nine games, the Robins have lost six matches on the trot and, with a third of the season gone, are again engaged in a fight against relegation.
The sequence of defeats is the worst presided over by any City manager since Gary Johnson's team lost ten on the bounce in League One between October and December 2005.
Although Johnson eventually turned things around and guided the Robins back into the second tier, any hope of a similar revival now is being undermined by the catalogue of injuries that has prevented McInnes fielding his strongest line-up since September.
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Cole Skuse and Stephen McManus have joined top-scorer Steven Davies and left-back Greg Cunningham on the casualty list and McInnes, desperate for a win, is under more pressure than at any time since succeeding Keith Millen in the Ashton Gate hot-seat just over a year ago.
Defeats at the hands of Leicester, Bolton, Burnley, Hull, Huddersfield and Birmingham have plunged the Robins into freefall and Sunday's Ashton Gate showdown against Charlton is now a "must-win" game.
McInnes conceded: "The fans deserve better than that. Losing six games in a row is embarrassing.
"I'm embarrassed by that and the players should be embarrassed by that.
"You can only be unlucky so many times and, for me, Birmingham were the better team on Tuesday. We have to be honest about it – we cannot hide from it.
"All we can do is regroup, regalvanise everybody, see where we are in terms of injuries and go again. I expect better of us."
Although club owner Steve Lansdown is essentially a cautious man and opposed to radical change, a growing number of City fans are questioning whether McInnes is the right man for the job and the Scot knows he needs to effect an upturn in fortunes sooner rather than later.
He saved City from relegation in his first season in charge and, despite the recent run of poor results, retains the support of a large number of fans.
McInnes said: "The supporters came to Birmingham in their numbers and, when we arrived at the stadium, they were getting behind the players and myself.
"That is really encouraging and we are desperate to get back on track and give them success. We all want to get a bit of confidence and optimism back around the place and it is only the staff and players who can do that.
"We aim to do that on Sunday and beyond that as each game becomes crucial.
"It is right to say this (Charlton) is a crucial game, a real six-pointer and one we have to look to win."
Meanwhile, Skuse and McManus are awaiting the outcome of hospital scans to determine the extent of their injuries.
McManus suffered a suspected torn cruciate ligament in the 2-0 defeat at Birmingham, while Skuse may have fractured his cheekbone, eye socket and nose in a collision with the Blues' Nikola Zigic.