Championship football returns to St. Andrew`s tomorrow as Blues take on Bristol City in their first home league game of the season.
There’s been plenty of history between the two clubs in the last few months. First, Blues beat Lee Johnson`s side at Ashton Gate on the final day of last season to secure their Championship status.
And, as we know, more recently, Harry Redknapp has had his eyes on two of Bristol City`s key players. Bids (described as derisory by Johnson) for Aden Flint and Joe Bryan have been rejected and it looks like Blues may well have to move on.
Our 5-1 win against Crawley Town in midweek was the perfect response to the opening day defeat at Ipswich and the confidence some of the players gained from that (particularly Che Adams) should give us a slight boost.
Bristol City have started the season on fire winning their two games in the league and cup. They have also scored eight goals in the process so they will arrive at St. Andrew`s with the mindset that they can beat us.
Redknapp`s transfer window is far from over and there’s still a number of players likely to come through the door. But, in the meantime, the current squad have got to find a way to win games.
I suspect that the team will be the same as last week, with Adams supporting Clayton Donaldson in a 4-4-1-1 formation. The cup game in midweek gave a few fringe players the opportunity to stake their claim and one man really stood out- David Cotterill.
We all know what he brings to the table. He might be frustrating and he does drift in and out of games, but he creates chances and Blues are more of a danger with him in the side. I really hope that he gets a place at least on the bench. As much as David Davis does a job on the right side of midfield, he doesn’t provide the width and isn’t a natural winger.
Bristol City are a dangerous side, there`s no doubting that. Blues will have to be on their game and they’ve got to hold some sort of control of it. Being the home side, the onus is on Blues to try and break them down and it’s something that we’ve got to be able to do.
If we can get the breakthrough, then I think we`ll be good enough to sit on it, soak up a bit more pressure and play on the counter. But, from the outset, it’s up to Blues to go out and get the three points.
Like I said in the first edition of The Three Pointer, it’s still very hard to judge teams with it being early in the season and there isn’t much information to go off.
But, looking at how Blues have profited against Bristol City recently, it’s clear that we should look to exploit the space and loose balls that drop.
If we can get Adams into little pockets of space in behind the Bristol midfield, then that will really give him the chance to motor. I also think that Emilio Nsue can play a big part in getting down the right wing and crossing balls in.
It will then boil down to whether we can get the numbers in and around the box to pick up the pieces and take advantage of the loose balls like I said.
We`re not the sort of team that are going to go out and score the perfect goal, so Adams and Donaldson may have to live off those scraps and turn them into something to our benefit.
It’s vitally important that we at least get off the mark points wise tomorrow and a win is all we should really be aiming for. It will be a tough test but one that Blues should relish so here’s hoping for three points to get us going this season.
The Three Pointer Vs. Bristol City