Since his arrival at Ashton Gate from Ipswich Town in the summer, Emmanuel-Thomas has scored 14 goals in all competitions.
With that form and the club's financial state in mind, O'Driscoll has admitted that he could be powerless if another side express an interest in the 22-year-old.
"To be fair, I've already said to him 'I need to sell you Jay'. We need to evolve the team and we can no longer look to [owner] Steve Lansdown and say 'give us this and give us that'. We need to generate our own money," he told the Bristol Post.
"We're starting from scratch and I keep saying that Bristol City the club is not Bristol City the team.
"Jay is well known in football circles and he will need to go to a club that is going to nurture him. People will look at him now and there will be interest."
Emmanuel-Thomas started his career with Premier League side Arsenal prior to his switch to Ipswich in 2011.