BERNARD Jackman arrived at Rodney Parade at a time of great optimism yet ultimately the bold, ambitious claims made by the now former Dragons head coach were his downfall.

One of the first changes made by the Welsh Rugby Union after they bought Newport RFC's historic ground and took over the region was to get rid of Kingsley Jones and bring in the former Ireland hooker.

Jackman arrived with a great fanfare and the ex-Grenoble coach had the seal of approval from Wales boss Warren Gatland, who notably was the first person quoted in the WRU press release about the appointment.

At his first media conference in a sunny Newport Jackman spoke excitedly about what he could achieve at the Dragons over time, about how he could tap into the vast potential in the region.

Yet he is gone less than halfway through a three-year contract.

The Dragons are hunting a new boss and, strange as it sounds, the chosen individual needs to dial down the optimism when they take up the role.

Supporters are fed up of the promises, they are sick of being told about how bright the future is going to be. Most just want their side to not be rubbish.

The tone needs to be realistic at the start of 2019 – the new man needs to say that he wants to turn the Dragons back into a side that is tough to beat, not that they want to turn them into the best Welsh region.

Chairman David Buttress should insert a break clause into the contract that if the coach ever mentions 'sleeping giant' then he can be shown the door without a payoff.

The new boss will arrive at Rodney Parade with their eyes wide open; money will be as tight as ever under the new agreement between the regions and the WRU, if not tighter.

The Dragons will continue to operate with a paltry budget compared to everyone else in Europe's three frontline leagues.

The head honcho will rely heavily on the academy (and cautiously bringing through the next generation from the talented current under-18s squad will be key) and they will have to scrap to retain those that have come through and earned Wales honours.

They will have to be savvy in the recruitment market, bringing in players who provide plenty of bang for their buck both on the field and in creating an environment to fuel the development of the local talent.

It's tempting to say that the Dragons need a miracle worker but all they want is someone who makes the team more than the sum of its parts.

Jackman had a tough gig and his work was not as bad as some make out; he made some changes off the field that his successor will reap the benefits of and he challenged some long-established habits and mentality.

It was probably only once he got his feet under the table that he realised just how tough the gig was and that it dawned on him how long it would take to turn things around.

Time is something that few bosses get in professional sport.

Jackman's record of P44, W11, L31, D2 wasn't good enough but it was the promises made during his first season at the helm that came back to bite him.

He threw plenty of the 2017/18 squad under the bus, saying they weren't up to it and that he would rather blood young talent before the cavalry arrived over the summer.

A raft of new faces came in – including high-profile internationals – and the summer was spent talking about dramatically improved depth but there was little improvement in results.

Jackman has found out that it's not necessarily losing but the manner of defeat that matters at Rodney Parade.

The Dragons shipped too many tries and received too many drubbings over his reign. They lacked the fight that supporters expect, especially on home soil.

This is a side that features six players from Wales' autumn campaign, another who would have been a shoo-in were it not for injury (Hallam Amos) and a number of capped seasoned campaigners.

It isn't realistic to expect the Dragons to be involved in a play-off push but they should be capable of being within sight of the scrap for Champions Cup qualification and be able to cause the odd upset.

What they now need is a man who can turn them into overachievers and they can look to the capital for inspiration.

Neil Warnock isn't my cup of tea (something tracing back to unsavoury behaviour on the touchline at a game I was watching when he was boss of Plymouth) but his achievements with Cardiff City have been remarkable.

The experienced manager has squeezed every last ounce out of his Bluebirds squad to not only earn promotion to the Premier League but stand a chance of survival.

In fact, Warnock isn't the only boss doing that, as has been reflected by the lack of the usual sackings in the bottom half.

David Wagner at Huddersfield, Sean Dyche at Burney, Roy Hodgson at Crystal Palace, Rafa Benitez at Newcastle, Chris Hughton at Brighton; all bosses who are not feeling the heat because people recognise that they are doing (or have previously done) fine work despite constraints.

The expectations and demands are lower and the clubs are flourishing. There is still pressure to produce the goods but that is combined with realism - sacking isn't a magic solution.

The new boss needs to avoid over-egging the 'Gwent is a rugby hotbed' hype. Acknowledging the Dragons' problems and being cautious about where they can realistically get to is the first step towards progress.