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View From The Town End: Bristol City

Happy New Year folks! Will Bristol City turn up to the Mad Stad to spoil the party or help usher in a bold new McDermott era? Here's the lowdown on today's visitors.

Harry Trump/Getty Images

Bristol City fan the Exiled Robin kindly provided the answers to today's questions.

How would you sum up your season so far?

Underwhelming. Frustrating. Unlucky.

Hitting 99 points last season, winning the title and the JPT hopes were high for at the very least a solid, unexciting mid table campaign. As its turned out, we've spent most of the campaign in and around the bottom three, struggled to make a real impact and let SO many points slip late on or in games we've been on top in.

I deliberately added unlucky as I genuinely think we have been, even if many disagree. The lack of a cutting edge means we haven't got the goals we've deserved and losses and draws have replaced draws and victories respectively. We've only been outplayed on one or two occasions (until the last week) and generally look like we can cut it at this level with a little more Lady Luck (or a bloody good striker!) on our side.

You went up on a real crest of a wave after a double winning campaign but have really struggled this season. What's gone wrong?

Where to start...Well I can't not talk about our summer transfer shambles where six, mainly peripheral players were released, and only one (star striker Kodjia) signed in replacement. Six loans followed, four of whom are not getting first team time and it's all been messy and feels like a bit of a waste of such a great season.

More specifically, boss Steve Cotterill has stuck steadfastly to the 3-5-2 formation that served us so well last season, but it's a formation - with the players we've got - that seems easy to work out for teams at this level.

The three at the back are left exposed by the wing backs attacking, and attackers pull them wide across the park, leaving just one in the middle.

Add to that a midfield which is tidy enough but struggles to be truly creative or strong, and a forward line where only one guy (Kodjia) has scored goals. However, he's also missed plenty, including straight forward chances at crucial times in games, not least when 1-0 up at home to relegation rivals Charlton last week. (we conceded an equaliser in the 94th minute).

Anything else? Star players from last year haven't made the step up as easily as we'd have expected, especially Aden Flint, Joe Bryan and Luke Freeman, whilst many are starting to seriously question Cotterill's tactical nous. If nothing else, his stubbornness (or commitment to his beliefs if you want) seem to be causing us issues as despite results, nothing seems to change from week to week, or even during games.

Reading won fairly comfortably at Ashton Gate earlier in the season, what did you make of Reading that day and from what you've seen & heard since?

They looked great that day - I mentioned only a couple of teams had outplayed us and Reading were one of those teams. We could have no arguments with the result and it showed how far behind we could be on our day. Reading seem to have had a bit of a strange season from the outside in, beating some of the top teams then falling short against others less talented.

The manager situation seemed to come from nowhere (aside from a botched attempt at chatting with Fulham) and surprised many I think, but perhaps will work out best for the long term, even if you haven't seen the immediate upturn usually associated with a new gaffer.

Which City player should we look out for on Saturday?

Striker Jonathan Kodjia is the danger man and top scorer - just be aware if you sit behind the goal about ten yards wide he could find you!! That's probably being a little unfair, certainly, on his day, he's proved a handful for everyone in this division.

Any Reading player that you don't want to come up against?

Matej Vydra still scares most defenders at this level and we seem to struggle against the very best strikers. Stephen Quinn always seems to play well against us.

Score prediction?

Sadly, 2-0 Reading in front of 3,000 disappointed fans from Bristol

Finally, who do you think will go up and down come the end of the season?

Middlesbrough and Hull automatically, possibly Ipswich in the play offs.

Bolton look doomed, I can't see Charlton getting many more points based on their Boxing Day performance against us, and I'll go for Rotherham for the final slot, just pipping MK Dons whilst our mini recovery will see us safely in the top 20!

Thanks again to this week's interviewee and you can follow him on Twitter @theexiledrobin