The last time we travelled to Ashton Gate for a league match, these charming ladies entertained us. In 1979, the “Rockin’ Robins” cheerleaders graced us with their pre-match routines. Times have changed somewhat as we return to the West Country for this afternoon’s fixture.
The first tranche of Championship games comes to an end today at Ashton Gate. It’s been a mixed start to the season but there are signs things are picking up and a win today will reinforce that.
We should have more than the five points accumulated, with the draws against Huddersfield and Derby particularly disappointing. In fact, the dropped points are largely self-inflicted with the goalkeeping howlers suffered this season but we can also point to a failure in front of goal as being equally crucial.
Bristol City have been hit and miss in their four games so far. Wins over Wigan and Burton were followed by defeats to Norwich and Newcastle. Hopefully we can inflict a third consecutive defeats to last season’s relegated teams on them.
At some point today, I’d expect both Mile Jedinak and Ritchie De Laet to make their debuts. Roberto Di Matteo must decide where Jedinak fits into the side. Primarily a midfielder, he can operate in the centre of the defence. Is RDM contemplating moving to back five? This is the sixth game of the season and really, it was only the EFL Cup match at Kenilworth Road which plumbed the depths of last season. To that point he must be reasonably content with his back four which, in the league at least, hasn’t been breached more than once in any game.
Chester and Elphick made a promising start to their pairing so it’s hard to see a reason for disturbing them at present. However, three centre backs offers the interesting prospect of more width further up the pitch but I suspect Jedinak will slot into midfield.
In place of whom is the question. It’s a tough decision but at the moment, Gary Gardner seems most at risk. Whether that’s today is another matter and I don’t think he will be.
The point at Derby was hard won. Dominating in the first half, we were on the back foot in the second. Despite this, the woodwork was the Rams best defender and that is encouraging. Jordan Ayew is a concern though. His form has been patchy, often in the same game, and he must find consistency if he is to realise his potential.
None of the forward line has clicked into gear yet. Gestede threatened to do so with a brace against Rotherham and with McCormack breaking his duck against Huddersfield, we know the goals are there. They just need to come more often.
Since the Luton debacle, we’ve looked compact and the signs of a decent side coming together, are there. With the number of new signings made, it’s inevitable that we will take some time to find a true vein of form but in the meantime, grinding out the draws has been a sign that the defensive weaknesses of last year are solved.
A win today would put a little bounce into our step ahead of September, a month in which I will be disappointed if we drop any points.