BIG MATCH PREVIEW - Bristol City (A) 21/10/14
Very similar to Sheffield United, Bristol City had a below par 2013-14 season and finished the season with a different manager to the one they began the season with. They were expected to mount a promotion challenge last season following their relegation from the Championship but Sean O’Driscoll couldn’t get his side going and they began the season poorly leading the proverbial axe and the subsequent appointment of Steve Cotterill. The Robins finished the season strongly and following a summer of astute recruitment, they are expected by most to mount a promotion challenge this time round.
Ins and Outs
The summer saw the release of long serving duo Louis Carey, Marvin Elliott and Liam Fontaine. Mitch Brundle, Kevin Krans, Stephen Pearson, Liam Kelly, Brendan Moloney and Elliott Parish also left the football club, making space for some impressive recruitments. Experienced central midfielder Wade Elliott was drafted in on a free transfer from Birmingham City and joining him in that department were Korey Smith from Oldham Athletic and Luke Freeman from Stevenage who both joined for undisclosed fees. Defenders Mark Little and Luke Ayling were brought in on free transfers from Peterborough United and Yeovil Town respectively and Aaron Wilbraham (pictured above) was brought in also on a free transfer from Premier League outfit Crystal Palace. Later in the window, Kieran Agard joined for an undisclosed fee from newly promoted Championship side Rotherham United.
Current League Position
Currently sitting pretty at the top of League One, Swindon’s draw at Yeovil last weekend coincided with City’s victory at Coventry meant that the Robins extended the gap between themselves and the teams outside of the top 2 to 9 points and they’re also 5 points clear of closest rivals Peterborough United. They are unbeaten so far in the league this season with 9 wins and 4 draws from 13 games.
Bristol City could welcome back Korey Smith who has had a spell recently on the side lines after picking up a hamstring injury.
The Bantams will be without Stephen Darby for the trip to Ashton Gate as he will serve a one match suspension following his red card during last weekend’s game against Sheffield United. Gary Liddle will return following his own one match suspension and will no doubt be part of the squad for this one. Rory McArdle will also have a late fitness test to decide whether or not he will be fit enough to play.
Last Meetings with Bristol City:
The last time The Bantams met The Robins was back in January this year at the Coral Windows Stadium. James Hanson scored the opener within the first 60 seconds of the match but the lead wasn’t to last long as Scott Wagstaff fired his side level inside the eleventh minute; the game finished in a 1-1 draw.
The opening league fixture of the 2013-14 season was at Ashton Gate as the newly promoted side came up against the newly relegated side. Wagstaff gave Bristol a dream start but Nahki Wells levelled proceedings before the break. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas restored his side’s lead midway through the second half but Rory McArdle’s header from Raffa De Vita’s corner late on gave The Bantams a share of the spoils on their return to League One.
Bristol City’s Recent Form
18/10/14 | Coventry City 1-3 Bristol City | League One | W
11/10/14 | Bristol City 3-2 Chesterfield | League One | W
08/10/14 | Cheltenham Town 1-3 Bristol City | Johnstone’s Paint Trophy | W
04/10/14 | Walsall 1-1 Bristol City | League One | D
27/09/14 | Bristol City 3-2 MK Dons | League One | W
20/09/14 | Fleetwood Town 3-3 Bristol City | League One | D
Signed in the latest transfer window for an undisclosed fee, Kieran has a proven goal scoring pedigree at this level and his 26 goals in all competitions last season played a major part in Rotherham United securing promotion to the Championship. He had played the first couple of games this season for United but he was given the freedom to move and after contract talks with Leeds United broke down, he moved to Bristol City. He spent time in the youth ranks at Arsenal and Everton before signing a professional deal with the latter in 2008. He made one Premier League appearance for The Toffees as he came on as a stoppage time substitution for Louis Saha in a game against Chelsea. Agard who had loan spells at Peterborough United and Kilmarnock, moved to Rotherham after spending a year at Yeovil Town.
Ref Watch – Darren Bond
Darren Bond has refereed 13 games so far this season, his latest of which being Huddersfield Town’s 4-2 victory at home against Blackpool last weekend. Last season, he refereed City twice, both games of which resulting in defeat. First he was in charge of the 1-0 Boxing Day defeat to Rotherham United before taking charge of the 2-0 loss to Brentford at Griffin Park. He has been the referee for a City victory though, as he took charge of City’s 1-0 victory against Torquay United in December 2012. Before that he had refereed matches predominantly in the Conference Premier.
Sky Bet’s odds for the game are as follows, with them having Bristol City as significant favourites to secure the victory:
Bristol City – 8/13
Draw – 14/5
Bradford – 9/2