Nigel Pearson will be hoping to finally record his first victory at Ashton Gate on Friday night when Swansea City visit.
It was just seconds to go when Shayne Lavery converted in front of the Atyeo Stand on the opening day of the new Championship campaign, but City can put that right by going one better against Russell Martin’s winless Swans.
City have not lost any of the South Wales team’s last three visits to BS3 (two draws and a 2-0 win in 2019) and they faced and beat Martin’s MK Dons side up at the High Performance Centre in pre-season. That friendly game will count for little but it will have given Pearson and his coaching team a slight insight into what to expect from Martin and City’s former U23s coach Luke Williams, who is an assistant at the Liberty Stadium.
Martin told the Swansea City website his thoughts on the upcoming game, and says his team must be sharper in attack than when they lost at home to Stoke City 1-3 in midweek, which assistant Robins coach Kalifa Cisse watched for the West Country men.
“We went there pre-season with my previous club so I know what to expect,” said the former Norwich City defender.
“One thing is we need to be more threatening at the top end of the pitch. Hopefully we’ll see an improvement in all areas.”
Bristol City will be hoping their win at Reading in the week provides an upsurge of confidence that carries the team in Friday night’s televised contest. It’s a chance to really start winning over the local crowd and build on some good spells of football in the opening games of the season, if not quite the results to go with them so far.
Here’s who we see starting tonight’s game, with just one change.
We tip captain Dan Bentley to resume in the nets, with an unchanged back four in front of him following the first win of the season on Tuesday night.
Nigel Pearson has reasoned in press conferences that once you gain the Bristol City shirt, your performances will show if it is then kept. For that reason, we suggest only enforced team changes on Friday, though it is a third game in the space of six days and stamina will be a factor in the selection too.
So Danny Simpson, Tomas Kalas, Rob Atkinson, Jay Dasilva, though Dasilva could be swapped for Cameron Pring if Pearson opts for fresher legs in defence, given that Dasilva has played all three Championship games so far. That switch might lend itself to a more attacking selection – with Bristol City playing at home after three away games – too.
Whether Andy King is fit to play will be key for City, and Pearson explained that the former Leicester City man would be assessed late in the week. Given the proximity of games, we’d be surprised if King made it, although it may have been a minor impact injury that forced him off just after the break on Tuesday.
Han-Noah Massengo played a nice cameo at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, and so we suggest keeping an eye out for the Frenchman alongside Matty James.
Pring may have a knock to shake off too, as he looked to be uncomfortable just before he came off the pitch late at Reading, though if fit he may well keep his place. If not, Kasey Palmer may come back in, or the returning Callum O’Dowda, who is expected to fit for selection.
Alex Scott may keep his place again unless Pearson opts to rotate to add some extra zip to the side, with players who have played fewer minutes so far.
The former Derby County men should go again: Chris Martin and Andi Weimann, with the pair both on two goals from three games so far in the league, and both in-form in Berkshire.
Nahki Wells may have to wait his turn and play his way into the side from the bench.
Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Bentley; Simpson, Kalas, Atkinson, Dasilva; Massengo, James; Pring, Weimann, Scott; Martin