clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

View From The Town End: Bristol City

After the disappointment of Derby it's down the M4 we go to visit League One Champions Bristol City. So what can we expect from the newly promoted side?

Martin Willetts/Getty Images

How would you sum up City's season so far?

Frustrating and exciting in equal measure. Apart from the opening game, we've been more than a match for almost every opponent and the better team in the majority of our matches, which is a hugely promising sign. Unfortunately the ruthlessness of the Championship has seen us concede goals from individual errors and set pieces which we weren't last season, and we've often found ourselves behind in games, chasing games and unable to pick up the number of points we perhaps deserve..

When we spoke to you in pre-season you were hoping for something comfortable, has what you've seen on and off the pitch since then don't anything to change that?

On the pitch is probably summed up above, we've been at least equal to most opponents for long periods of games without being super-dominant, so I'm still confident of a mid-table finish. Off the pitch we hit the headlines somewhat with large, and ultimately failed, bids for Dwight Gayle and Andre Grey. It showed our ambition and our hand at the same time, but without the wage structure, the recent Premier League pedigree or the perceived chance of going up this season, there were enough reason for both to turn us down, unfortunately. A handful of loan signings were perhaps not what was quite expected last May, but the additions have built up some robustness to the squad, whilst in Jonathan Kodjia we have a young striker with rapid pace and an ability to create chances for himself. The four goals already only tell half the story as he - like many of the team - has been guilty of missing some very easy opportunities too.

Any fond memories of games between the sides?

Plenty. Reading (away in particular) is always one of the games I look out for, being a short journey up the M4. We always seemed to do OK against you (until the last few encounters), and I seem to recall plenty of goals, lots of 3's and 4's in the history books, but the 2-0 win at the Madejski in 2009 really sticks in the memory. It was the year after we reached the play-off final for the Premier League and that win came at the end of a good run of results which put us fourth and seemingly destined for some sort of end of season action once again. The dream was in touching distance and more than 4,000 City fans filled your away end on a lovely, sunny February afternoon and "bounced around the ground" as we had been encouraged to do so by then-manager Gary Johnson. Ultimately, that was as good as it got that season for City, and for Gary Johnson, as we slipped to tenth and he was sacked the following season.

Any not so fond ones?

Aside from a couple of running battles at the old Elm Park I seem to recall from my very young days, the obvious one was travelling up for what I think may have been our first visit to your fabulous new ground on the opening day of the 2000/01 season. Again, plenty of fans travelled up in force full of hope and optimism for the new season, which was extinguished within 25 minutes as the infamous Gerard Lavin moment of madness - kicking the ball into the crowd in anger, receiving a red card and leaving our ten men to battle fruitlessly for a point.

Which city player should we be wary of on Saturday?

Kodjia was mentioned above and looks like he'll be a threat most days, whilst Luke Freeman and Joe Bryan are the assist kings. However, centre-half Aden Flint, once of Swindon, is often our main goal threat, weighing in with 15 goals last season and our main target with any corners we may get.

Any Reading player you're not looking forward to facing?

Nick Blackman has clearly started the season well, and it was a bit of a relief to see Orlando Sa get sent off the other night! Typically I always look out for old players or players who regularly perform well against us, but without anyone of note in those categories in the squad (unless I've missed someone!) Matej Vydra would seem the most certain to score against us, given we were reportedly interested in bringing him to Ashton Gate before the Royals stepped in with an (allegedly) astronomical loan fee. Simon Cox is the other who would fall into the linked/does well against us category, if he's involved.

Score prediction?

We've got to beat someone eventually the way we're playing (surely!), but always look likely to concede, so I'll go with a 3-1 City win.

Finally any advice for Reading fans making the trip to Ashton Gate?

Get there early! Parking spots are becoming rarer and rarer, especially with all the building work going on. The stadium is worth a walk around now two of the stands have been redeveloped and a third has been razed to the ground. You'll be in the Atyeo stand, so the other end of the pitch than you'll have been used to for the past twenty or so years. I always recommend visiting fans park in Bedminster Cricket Club. £5 to park but a short walk from the stadium, easy to get to off the M5 (J19), avoid going through town and you'll get a warm welcome in the clubhouse for your pre- and post-match drinks.

And finally, if anyone is coming up Friday night, they can catch the England World Cup game on the largest sports screen in the UK as our new Bar & Grill opens formally.

Thanks again to Paul and you can follow him on Twitter @theexiledrobin