Gary Johnson has appealed to Bristol City fans to give Stern John a chance.
The Trinidad & Tobago international has scored only twice since arriving at Ashton Gate in October and has come in for criticism from supporters, some of whom question his commitment to the cause.
But manager Johnson believes John's languid demeanour can be misleading and he feels Bristol City fans have been slow to recognise the former Premier League marksman's qualities. He said: "Sometimes fans want to pick out someone to be a scapegoat and that has happened to Stern on occasions.
"I think it's down to the impression he gives off and it's definitely unfair.
"As a manager, it's up to me to pick the best team in the best interests of the football club. I have to be single-minded and not listen to what other people are saying."
Southampton's leading scorer last season, John is determined to earn a City deal.
Although the former Birmingham star has struggled to hold down a regular place in Johnson's Championship starting line-up, he has still played a significant part in Bristol City's rise up the table.
An experienced campaigner, John has consistently created chances for others and helped bring out the best in 22-year-old Nicky Maynard.
Back in the side for last weekend's game at Derby, he also started against Coventry on Tuesday and is expected to feature in Sunday's match with Cardiff at Ashton Gate.
Johnson remains happy with the Trinidadian's contribution. He said: "Stern is one of those players who does a lot of things which go unnoticed.
"He's played in the Premier League and in the World Cup and he gives us that little bit of quality in the final third.
"Stern is good with his back to goal, holds the ball up well and brings others into the game. He's in the team because he deserves to be."