We are now well into pre-season, with Bristol City’s Championship opener against Blackpool edging ever closer.
The Robins limped over the finish line in the 2020/21 campaign but changes have been made to Nigel Pearson’s squad and there is new hope among the Ashton Gate faithful.
Newly-promoted Blackpool are likely to provide City with a stern test on the opening weekend and there’s no doubt that Pearson will be determined to start his first full season in charge by securing all three points in Bs3.
But he still has some dilemmas facing him ahead of that clash…
How his forward line will look
He may not have finished his Ashton Gate career with a flourish but losing Famara Diedhiou is a blow and the Robins are still yet to replace him.
Scoring goals was a real issue for City last season and finding the right combination of forwards could be key for Pearson against Blackpool.
Andi Weimann and Chris Martin’s return to fitness looks like a major boost but Antoine Semenyo will miss the start of the season due to injury and the Robins boss is yet to get the best out of Nahki Wells.
Wells has proven himself a lethal goalscorer in the Championship in the last but has mostly been used on the flanks under Pearson, something that’s impacted his effectiveness.
The 31-year-old looked back to his best when playing centrally for Bermuda over the summer and that may mean his manager looks to shift to a two up top to give him a chance through the middle alongside Martin but that in turn could mean Weimann is forced to a deeper position or out of the side.
The forward line remains Pearson’s key dilemma ahead of the start of the 2021/22 campaign.
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Whether Kasey Palmer has earned a starting place
There’s certainly no denying the talent and quality that Kasey Palmer has but you’d be hard-pressed to find a City fan that feels they’ve seen enough of it during his Ashton Gate tenure.
Palmer impressed in the recent pre-season clash with Portsmouth, getting on the scoresheet and proving a real asset in attacking midfield, but has he shown enough to earn a place in the starting XI?
Summer arrivals Matty James and Andy King could well be the deeper midfield pair that Pearson opts for but it remains to be seen whether he’ll trust the Jamaica international ahead of them from the start against Blackpool.