Bristol City host Preston North End hoping to end a 12 league game winless run at Ashton Gate this Saturday.
Two wins on the road at Reading and most impressively Cardiff City have pushed the Robins up to 11th and just two points off the play-offs after five matches.
A reasonable start after ending 2020/21 with three draws and seven losses, Nigel Pearson has been deemed the man to get them back to competing for the top six and the early signs are encouraging but they cannot survive by only picking up wins away from home.
Frankie McAvoy’s North End come into this one off the back of three consecutive wins in all competitions, which were vital in settling some early season doubts over the capabilities of the new manager.
Their midfield trio of the cultured Ben Whiteman and Ryan Ledson with Daniel Johnson just in front will pose a unique test for City to contemplate.
Here, we identify two tactical tweaks Pearson could implement ahead of Saturday’s match…
After a couple of seasons heavily impacted by injury there may be a hesitance in reintegrating Jay DaSilva into the regular first team picture, but he is the most high profile left back at the club and should be preferred to Nathan Baker playing out of position.
The 23-year-old can contribute going forward and in combination with Cameron Pring, also a specialist left back, the pair could build an understanding down the left flank.
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With the aerial threat that Chris Martin carries up front, stretching the pitch would be beneficial for City and without doing him a disservice Nathan Baker is not going to offer that when deployed at left back.
The Robins should be very wary of Whiteman, Ledson and Johnson for North End and their relentless energy in the middle of the park.
The ageing duo of Andy King and Matty James in a 4-4-2 formation will be at risk of getting overrun, Pearson may need to tweak the formula in that department.
Han-Noah Massengo has started the season in impressive fashion playing off the right of midfield, but the 20-year-old Frenchman is also comfortable in the centre and could provide much needed speed and agility in transition.
One of the highlight reel talents of Kasey Palmer or Antoine Semenyo would be capable of slotting onto the right flank in the role Massengo would leave open.