clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Opposition Lowdown: Nigel Pearson’s Bristol City

The Royals return to Berkshire this weekend, with a home tie against Bristol City. Join us as we take a look at the opposition.

Birmingham City v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images


Bristol City finished in 17th place in The Championship last season, in their seventh straight season in the second tier. They currently sit in 12th position with six wins, three draws and seven losses. Four of those wins have come at home, however they have recorded two away wins so far this season, beating Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion on their travels.

They have seen mixed form in their last five matches, winning two, losing two and drawing one game. City claimed a league double against Reading last season, beating the Royals 2-3 at the Madejski in August and 2-1 at Ashton Gate in February this year.

The boss

Nigel Pearson: Pearson joined Bristol City in February 2021, originally signing a deal until the end of the 20/21 season, however he signed a three-year deal with the club prior to the season ending. He took over from Dean Holden who was sacked after a six-month stint in charge of the Robins.

Pearson started his managerial career with Carlisle United in 1998 and has managed Southampton, Leicester City, Hull City, Derby County, OH Leuven and Watford over the course of his career. He has two promotions on his CV, both with Leicester City - seeing them promoted to The Championship as League One Champions in 2009 and then securing a return to the Premier League in 2014, having won the Championship title, in his second stint in charge at the club.

West Bromwich Albion v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Pearson has led The Robins to 19th and 17th place finishes in his first two seasons. The former defender likes his sides to press the opposition, while remaining organised at the back.


It was a relatively quiet summer transfer-wise for City with four players joining on free transfers and four players leaving the club. Those leaving include winger Callum O’Dowda, who joined Cardiff, midfielders Casey Palmer, who joined Coventry and Tyreeq Bakinson, who signed for Sheffield Wednesday and defender Robbie Cundy who left for Barnsley. Defender Nathan Baker retired from football after five years at The Robins.

City signed young goalkeeper Stefan Bajic (Pau FC), centre back Kal Naismith (Luton), right back Kane Wilson (Forest Green) and midfielder Mark Sykes (Oxford) all on free transfers. City have not used the loan market, with Pearson known for favouring using youth players from the academy over temporary signings.

Kal Naismith will miss out on this weekend’s game with a calf injury, whilst Kane Wilson and Ayman Benarous will also miss out.

Expected line-up

O’Leary, Atkinson, Vyner, Klose, James, Dasilva, Williams, Scott, Sykes, Semenyo, Wells

Key player

Nahki Wells: Striker Wells joined City in January 2020, signing from Burnley for an undisclosed fee. The striker, who has been linked with a move to Reading many times over the years, started his career in Bermuda before moving to the UK in 2010 when he joined Eccleshill United.

His big break came with a move to Bradford City in 2011; he spent three years at the club scoring 57 goals. Moves to Huddersfield and Burnley followed his time at Bradford, whilst Wells also spent time at Queens Park Rangers, joining on loan for two straight seasons. The 32-year-old is a Bermudan international, who has made 21 appearances for his country, scoring 15 goals.

Wells has had a strong start to the season, with seven goals to his name so far. He is a hard-working striker who is a strong finisher.

One to watch

Antoine Semenyo: Semenyo is a product of the Bristol City academy who made his City debut in 2018. He joined Newport County on loan for 2018/19 season and scored six goals for the club before being recalled in January. He had a spell in the Robins’ first team but then made another loan move, this time to Sunderland, where he made seven appearances for The Black Cats.

The 2020/21 season was when Semenyo made his mark at City; he became a first-team regular and won the club’s Young Player of the Year award. The forward has now made over 100 appearances for The Robins, scoring 17 goals, four of which have come this season. He is also a Ghanaian international having made his debut in June this year.

Semenyo can play anywhere across the front three and uses his pace and trickery to run at defenders.