Pre­ston game could have big im­pact on City’s hopes of push­ing for play offs

Bristol Post - - SPORT -

IT was a sur­prise hear­ing the Bris­tol City re­sult come through the head­phones while do­ing Soc­cer Satur­day last week­end.

I think most ex­pected them to come away with three points but Read­ing ral­lied and thanks to a Liam Kelly won­der strike and some lapse de­fend­ing they pre­vailed over City.

Once again an in­ter­na­tional break is al­most upon us and the Robins ap­proach this one in a worse off po­si­tion than the last two. How­ever, it is im­por­tant to have some per­spec­tive here.

I saw a few men­tions of ‘John­son out’ again - which is laugh­able. One fan told me about a post say­ing bring in Steve Bruce.

Now, as the new ac­counts show, Bris­tol City are in no po­si­tion to do this and John­son’s job shouldn’t even be un­der ques­tion.

The Robins lost their three big­gest play­ers this sum­mer, and as yet John­son does not know his best team. I read the fan col­umn com­ment­ing on this, but a lot of the re­spon­si­bil­ity lies with the play­ers.

You feel watch­ing on that al­most ev­ery­one has more to give. The stand­out player so far has been Josh Brown­hill and ar­guably stick­ing him out on the right against Read­ing didn’t work. You’d ex­pect Liam Walsh to be dropped to al­low Brown­hill back into that cen­tral role against Pre­ston.

It was very in­ter­est­ing to read about the Robins’ ac­counts and the record loss of £25.5 mil­lion. The club is striv­ing to be­come sus­tain­able and this is a big blow.

How­ever, next year that should sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce due to the sales of Bobby Reid, Aden Flint and Joe Bryan this sum­mer.

The club re­lies, of course, mas­sively on Steve Lans­down. Lans­down nat­u­rally wants to back the man­ager with in­vest­ment in play­ers and wages, but it is a catch-22 sit­u­a­tion as the club needs to meet fi­nan­cial fair play and be sus­tain­able.

Most Cham­pi­onship clubs make a loss but it is im­por­tant it is not this high. Al­though City went far in the Carabao Cup, that didn’t ac­tu­ally make that much money, un­like the FA Cup which re­wards clubs with big sums for round pro­gres­sion.

Play­ers’ wages con­tinue to rise, and if City want to at­tract a cer­tain cal­i­bre of player they have to pay.

This brings us back to the ‘John­son out’ mur­murs. This is a longterm project. If John­son and his coach­ing staff can get the best out of their play­ers they might just flirt with the play-offs - but per­spec­tive is needed.

A con­tin­ued im­prove­ment in fin­ish­ing po­si­tion has been seen each sea­son. So, any­thing above that this sea­son could ar­guably be seen as over-achiev­ing, given the fine bal­anc­ing act of pay­ing the re­quired cal­i­bre of play­ers, en­sur­ing sound fi­nan­cial man­age­ment and get­ting pos­i­tive re­sults. Pre­ston are a bo­gey side for Bris­tol City, al­though Lee John­son dis­missed this in his press con­fer­ence.

He spoke at length this week about how Bris­tol City need to be more di­rect and how last year they could count on Hor­dur Mag­nus­son’s long throw and Aden Flint’s pres­ence in the op­po­si­tion box.

John­son called City’s chances a lot “purer” this sea­son. The Post’s City writer Gre­gor Mac­Gre­gor men­tioned on the pod­cast this week that the Robins need to stick with Fa­mara Died­hiou and hope he picks up form.

The other spot next to him is up for grabs. Do you go with An­dreas Weimann who has hit a dry spell or Matty Tay­lor? Al­ter­na­tively, we dis­cussed the strengths of Jamie Pater­son, he has suc­ceeded be­fore so maybe now is the time to give him a run with Died­hiou and see if a part­ner­ship can build.

Three points on Satur­day could see Bris­tol City in touch­ing dis­tance of the play-offs, but a loss could see them slip­ping away. It is finely poised, but with a win City are still right in the mix.

Pic­ture: Ro­gan Thom­son/JMP

Bris­tol City’s Adam Web­ster clutches his head af­ter a chal­lenge from Read­ing’s John O’Shea dur­ing last week­end’s de­feat

Bris­tol City head coach Lee John­son

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.