The last time I wrote a match preview, the final game of last season, Blues were looking nervously below them, hoping that 50 points would be enough to secure safety from relegation to League One. Frankly, if you told me 8 months later we would be in a situation just as worrying, despite a new manager and 16 new signings, then I would have laughed yet wouldn’t have been at all surprised.
For me it’s clear that Karanka isn’t the right man for the job. I backed him at the start of the campaign, and longer than most, and was relatively happy when he was appointed. I was also prepared to put up with the boring football if we got results, but we aren’t and we have instead gone backwards from the first games of the season where it looked like he had sorted out the defence. So here we are, in another relegation fight, so I guess it’s time to stop waffling and look ahead to the match.
Blues face Bristol, at home, having picked up a total of 12 points from 17 games at St Andrews this season. 3 wins at home in 17 matches is nothing short of disgraceful, but the glimmer of hope is we won our last home game and are against a team who have lost their last two games. Very faint hope, I know.
Last Time Out
In what looked like a game of head tennis on a few occasions last time out, Blues came away with nothing to show for against playoff chasing Barnsley. I can’t say much about the goal, as I had dashed out to the off licence to get some beer to get me through the second half. But it appeared yet another individual mistake, Karanka’s favourite phase, cost Blues a goal and we didn’t look like ever coming back. Although Sanchez really should have done better with that last minute effort.
Since appointing Nigel Pearson, who probably could still be a Premier League manager if it wasn’t for the Watford board pressing the self destruct button last season, The Robins have won two (with Pearson watching from the stands for one) and lost two. Last time out Bristol were beaten by QPR courtesy of a two first half goals from Ilias Chair and Rob Dickie.
With Sam Cosgrove back in the squad last week, Blues have just Boyd-Munce sidelined. I just pray that when Karanka brings Cosgrove on, he doesn’t take off the only players that can put in a cross.
On the other hand, the Robins have been hard hit by injuries this season and currently have eight players ruled out through injury.
Callum O’Dowda (hamstring), Jay Da Silva (shin), Nathan Baker (hamstring) and Tommy Rowe (knee) are all sidelined for Bristol. Alfie Mawson (ACL), Chris Martin (hamstring), Marley Watkins (hamstring) and Andreas Weismann (ACL) are also injured.
To be honest, I would have better luck trying to guess the next Euromillions numbers than predict what lineup Karanka will choose. So instead I have put the team that I would choose using the Fanhub app below. I think my most controversial choice is Valery over Colin. My reason being that I think Colin is extremely overrated, the amount of goals I have seen us concede from the frenchman not picking up his man this season is far too many. Hogan over Cosgrove is also debatable, but I haven’t seen Cosgrove play for long enough to pick him over Hogan. If I was to start with Cosgrove, or even Juke (who is not the same player this season), then I would swap the wingers so they are playing on their natural side – and can actually get some crosses in.
One to Watch – Famara Diédhiou
Diédhiou has 8 goals this season, which is nothing to shout about but is still 2 more than our top scorer Hogan. What’s more threatening about the Senegalese striker is his aerial ability, which is why I think picking Roberts as centre half is a must.
A line from the managers
We were much better than Bristol and Reading, at least as good as Watford, as good or better than Swansea. So if you look at the table now maybe you can be concerned, but if you look at our performances against them I am more than calm
I’ll just leave that quote there, If i speak about it then I will just annoy myself….
It’s really important we weather this difficult period as it has been a trying experience for everyone. It’s been frustrating for the fans and for the players.
This week Luke Stokes caught up with Bristol City fan James Cox from the BS3 Talk podcast to chat about the game, check it out below.
That’s all from me, I tried to not be too negative but that is quite a hard thing to do when talking about Blues at the moment. Let us hear your thoughts in the forum below!