Home Sports The expected Bristol City team to face Brentford with possible changes out...

The expected Bristol City team to face Brentford with possible changes out wide

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After 4,050 minutes of Championship action so far across this congested English second tier campaign we arrive at the final 90 minutes of action.

The season began with Dean Holden in charge and Andi Weimann and Jamie Paterson playing behind Famara Diedhiou and Nahki Wells, but ends with ignominy, Nigel Pearson in charge and only one of those four to play against Brentford in the final contest of the year.

City have just avoided relegation but if the season were longer they would be battling the drop, with just one in their last 12 league games. It is true, rank relegation form and the Robins have one last tough test on Saturday as the league’s leading goalscorers come to town.

Ivan Toney, a former Bristol City transfer target, comes to BS3 looking for one more goal to be the highest scoring player in a Championship season, looking to edge past Glenn Murray’s 30 with Crystal Palace can be topped if Toney finds the net at Ashton Gate. Bristol City could end the season on a positive if they can yet grab something to end a dismal run of home games without winning since January 26 against Huddersfield Town.

Nigel Pearson gets one last chance to examine the current playing squad in action before he looks to make changes this summer, with some 13 players out of contract.

Pessimistic City fans may be looking at whether Thomas Frank’s team can net more than four goals and inflict City’s heaviest final day defeat since a 4-0 thrashing by Burnley in 2009 (credit @krr57 on Twitter).

Here’s who we see being selected to face the play-off-playing Bees.

Defence

Max O’Leary may well get the nod in goal again after Pearson elected to have a look at the academy product at Millwall and leave Dan Bentley on the bench. Bentley’s place at the club is assured next season – less a large bid comes in for him – and Pearson will be better informed for that by watching O’Leary play, should City trade.

Bentley could well be picking up the player of the season accolade before the game too, with the results at noon.

In front, a back three of Adrian Mariappa, Nathan Baker and Tomas Kalas should get the nod again despite the dreadful defending at the Den. Pearson has previously given players the chance to make up for poor displays and he may well let the trio speak for themselves on the pitch on Saturday, especially given Millwall goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski’s stinging criticism of the Robins following the 4-1 loss.



Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson and Daniel Bentley of Bristol City.
Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson and Daniel Bentley of Bristol City.

It could be a last chance for Mariappa and Baker to do enough to earn another deal and remain at City.

Midfield

We predict all change in the wing-back positions with Jay Dasilva and Danny Simpson to get the wider positions, with a chance for Pearson to look at both and compare with the work of Tommy Rowe and Jack Hunt the week before, while Steven Sessegnon will be heading back to Fulham after this last game and he may be ignored for longer-term options.

Simpson confirmed in the pre-match press conference that he is fully fit and in contention to play against Brentford.

Adam Nagy is unavailable (on compassionate leave in Hungary), while Zak Vyner and Tyreeq Bakinson missed the last game due to precautions over knee injuries. The pair may not be risked in this final match of the season meaning that Henri Lansbury, Kasey Palmer and Han-Noah Massengo get a last chance to catch the eye of their manager.

Attack

With no Famara Diedhiou in attack (due to a knee complaint officially, but out of contract and possibly leaving soon), and Antoine Semenyo featuring more often from the bench, Nahki Wells and Tommy Conway should again lead the line.

Conway netted his first goal last week and has looked sharp in both of the last two games. Semenyo will likely feature from the bench, if not starting, and there might even be a late sighting of Louis Britton depending on how the match pans out.

Predicted Bristol City XI: O’Leary; Mariappa, Kalas, Baker; Simpson, Lansbury, Massengo, Palmer, Dasilva; Wells, Conway

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