It’s been a weirdly wonderful week for Blues fans since defeat at V*lla Park.
Against Millwall the players were evidently on edge but their togetherness shone through, getting the two goals through sheer desire and holding on despite not being at our best.
Preston on Saturday was an odd occasion, Blues missing several chances before being gifted the opener. The confidence slowly started to return, Jacques Maghoma and Che Adams scoring wonderful goals and we could have been close to double figures in truth.
This Saturday will unquestionably be a bigger challenge but an exciting one.
Bristol City are arguably the most unpredictable outfit in the division, a side that always look as capable of hitting you for five as they do ending the game in defeat.
They have helped bring the best out of us, a 4-2 home victory in 2015 an early show of Jon Toral’s qualities while Bristol City were also on the wrong-end of Harry Redknapp’s two victories as Blues manager, the first a 1-0 win that secured our survival and the second a backs-to-the-wall 2-1 victory at the start of an ultimately disappointing campaign.
Yet Bristol City are a side never wanting for energy, a team full of capable footballers, creative talents and runners everywhere. In the 2-1 victory last season they should have been out of sight by half-time having taken the lead within a minute and their 3-1 victory in April was revenge for three straight defeats to Blues.
This season alone, Bristol City have beaten Swansea City away, Sheffield United at home and drawn with Nottingham Forest. They have also drawn blanks against Rotherham United and Preston North End while losing at Reading too.
Monk will inevitably stick to his guns and Bristol City will have to find something out of the ordinary to defy a Blues side that are once again looking rock-solid defensively and will be revived by the return of Jota, not least as it gives Monk a quality, match-winning option from the bench.
Talk this week has again moved towards the EFL and rumours that they may halt Blues dishing out new contracts to those that have performed so admirably this campaign. It’s this negative talk that has driven Blues to new heights as the coaching staff and players look to control and controllables.
Victory on Saturday would be our third on the bounce and could leave us just a point off the play-offs. And for a renewed side, that is the only topic of discussion that matters.
Garry Monk could welcome Jota back to his squad after the winger returned to training this week. The game comes too soon for David Davis and Isaac Vassell.
Bailey Wright has recently returned but this game could come too soon for the defender who has been missing since before the World Cup. Changes could be made to boost an attack that continues to falter.
Birmingham City: 9th
Overall: Played 20; Won 7, Drawn 9, Lost 4; For 30, Against 24, GD 6; Points 30
Last six at home: Played 6; Won 4, Drawn 2, Lost 0; For 16, Against 8; GD 8; Points 14
Most starts: Colin, Morrison, Dean, Pedersen, Jutkiewicz – 20
Most goals: Lukas Jutkiewicz – 10
Worst discipline: Maikel Kieftenbeld – 4 yellow cards & 1 red card
Bristol City: 14th
Overall: Played 20; Won 7, Drawn 5, Lost 8; For 24, Against 24, GD 0; Points 26
Last six away: Played 6; Won 2, Drawn 1, Lost 3; For 6, Against 8, GD -2; Points 7
Most starts: Adam Webster & Marlon Pack – 20
Most goals: Andreas Weimann – 5
Worst discipline: Josh Brownhill – 3 yellow cards & 1 red card
When we last met:
Bristol City 3-1 Birmingham City
A resurgent Blues were dealt a blow to their hopes of survival after a 3-1 loss at Bristol City. The hosts took a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Marlon Pack and Bobby Reid but a fine Lukas Jutkiewicz finish gave Blues a chance. Despite having 18 efforts at goal a fair amount of the ball, The Robins showed a cutting edge with five minutes to go, Matty Taylor ensuring the three points went to his side.
Opposition Player to Watch: Andreas Weimann
He’s ex-V*lla. He’s bound to bag one, isn’t he. In all seriousness, Weimann isn’t actually a player that many will fear but he’s a bundle of energy, one with pace to burn and his five goals make him Bristol City’s top goalscorer. Blues defenders need to be alert.
Birmingham City 2-1 Bristol City
Blues’ next five fixtures:
15/12/2018: Blackburn Rovers (A) – 15:00
22/12/2018: Wigan Athletic (A) – 15:00
26/12/2018: Stoke City (H) – 15:00
29/12/2018: Brentford (H) – 15:00
01/01/2018: Sheffield Wednesday (A) – 15:00