Bristol City have got off to an excellent start to the campaign with the Robins sitting in third place in the table after 13 matches and well in the hunt for automatic promotion.
There was a lot of sceptics over Bristol City’s decision to appoint Dean Holden as Lee Johnson’s successor in the summer. So far though the new Robins boss has impressed with his ability to get the best out of his side and help them to recover from their poor end to last term.
The Robins do have a squad that is capable of challenging for promotion from the Championship, but that has been the case for the last couple of seasons now. That means there will still be a lot for Holden’s side to prove as we head towards the business end of the campaign which has been their Achilles heel in recent times.
There are a lot of things that Bristol City can build on during the rest of the season, but there will also be a couple of things that Holden can change to improve their promotion prospects even more.
Here then, we take a look at TWO positive signs we’ve seen from the Robins and Two potential concerns to address…
Bristol City looking strong on their travels
So far this season Bristol City have looked very strong away from home in the Championship, with the Robins having managed to secure an impressive four wins from their opening six league matches away from Ashton Gate. That has seen them secure victories at the likes of Stoke City, Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City.
They have shown different sides to their game with those victories with some strong defensive displays, and also the ability to cause problems for opponents at the other end of the pitch with nine goals in their six away league games.
Johnson? Cotterill? Who was the Bristol City manager when each of these 15 Robins moments happened?
Maintaining their form away from home will be crucial in helping Holden’s side continue their charge up the table and keeping them in touch with the top two places. Last season they ended the campaign with just one away win in their last seven so they will be warry to keep their current run going.
Robins defence looking more and more solid
Another major positive that is starting to emerge for Holden’s side is their improvements in defence, with Bristol City having recorded three successive clean sheets after shipping 11 goals in their opening ten Championship matches. That is starting to provide them with the foundations needed to win matches.
The Robins have quality to call upon at the back with the reliable Daniel Bentley between the sticks, as well as the likes of Alfie Mawson and Thomas Kalas and if they can continue their defensive improvements they should be well placed to challenge for promotion.
Bristol City’s injury troubles
The Robins currently have six first team players out with longer-term injury worries which Holden has confirmed will be likely to rule them out over the festive period, while there have also been other problems recently with Kalas needing a scan on a quad injury.
The condensed nature of this season is likely to see many sides impacted by injury troubles, but the Robins will hope that they can get some players back fit and then avoid problems repeating themselves. They will not be wanting a potential promotion push to be impacted by recurring injury issues.
Defeats coming against the teams around them
So far this term Bristol City have suffered just three league defeats, but all three of those have come against teams in and around the Championship’s top six places. Back-to-back losses against Norwich City and Bournemouth a few weeks ago showed that they have work to do against the sides up in the automatic promotion places.
The goalless draw against Watford in midweek did show signs they can compete with and take points from the sides around them, but they will need to show they can pick up all three points against these sides if they are going to be able to get promoted this term.