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View From The Town End: Bristol City

FOOTBALL IS BACK! But will Bristol City spoil Reading’s homecoming?

Bristol City v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

With Bristol City arriving at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday, we get the views of City fan Paul, you can follow him on Twitter @theexiledrobin.

How would you sum up your start to the season?

It’s been…OK. It all depends how you look at it. We’ve only lost one league game, but we’ve only won one too. We’ve been positive and fairly free-scoring at times but failed to unpick Millwall at home. But we’ve also had two good cup wins and a number of new signings – so I’m going to err on the side of positivity.

Did you get everything you needed in the transfer window?

We signed a number of players and now have most positions covered well. Replacing Tammy Abraham was always going to be difficult and we signed Famara Diedhiou for a club record £5m+ but he’s not going to score the 20+ goals Tammy, and Kodjia before him, did. However, if he can be strong and hold the ball up and bring others into play, hopefully the squad as a whole can up their game in that department.

Frankie Fielding has had a terrific start to the season in goal but has long-standing weaknesses so the signing of Luke Steele on deadline day makes that position interesting, but the one area we’re perhaps a little weak in is central midfield, missing a truly creative player who can deliver those slide-rule passes and do something different when teams get men behind the ball against us.

We also held out on a fee for Aden Flint, meaning our virtual ever-present, goal-scoring centre-half may spend the next few months on the bench waiting for January as Nathan Baker has established himself at the back since signing permanently from Villa, but if Flint gets a chance I have no doubt his character will mean he’ll be more committed than ever to make an impression.

You predicted a 15th place finish in the pre-season, has anything changed your mind on that?

Nothing so far. As I said earlier we’ve been very middling so far and we look nailed-on for lower to mid-table mediocrity.

Who should Reading be wary of on Saturday?

Bobby Reid has moved forward from his usual midfield role to partner Diedhiou and it’s been paying off so far. He’s the top scorer with five goals already, but if you were to total up the ‘yardage’ of those goals it’s probably only about 12! He’s gambling effectively and getting into the right positions and proving dangerous.

It remains to be seen if he plays, but we’ve also signed the electrifyingly quick forward, Jonathan Leko, from West Brom on loan, so it will be interesting to see how he gets on at this level if he’s unleashed.

Any Reading player that's caught your eye?

I liked the look of young Liam Kelly last season, but as I haven’t seen much of you yet this season I’ll go with the maybe obvious signing, but getting Sone Aluko in from Fulham could be a masterstroke. I thought he was excellent last season whenever I saw him play. Dave Edwards may be less heralded, but he’s been at the heart of much of what Wolves have done well for a few years and could prove an inspired signing.

Any good or bad memories of games between the sides?

Well, we’ve lost seven in a row against you and last season’s home defeat was particularly memorable for all the wrong reasons. We’d lost about 30 games in a row and then went 2-0 up, and it stayed like that until we got into the final 20 minutes. Kelly scored, we retreated and eventually capitulated and lost 3-2.

On a brighter note for us, and going back a bit, I heard commentary the other day from a game in 2000 when we won 4-0 with what was probably my favourite team of my time watching City. Scott Murray, Mickey Bell and Lee Peacock scored the goals, the strings were pulled by Brian Tinnion’s wand-like left boot – and Jamie Cureton was on the losing side which always felt good!

Score prediction?

Given our poor recent record against you, I’ve unfortunately got to go with a home win and so I’ll punt on a 2-1 win for you.