Bristol City will be feeling very positive as we head toward the busy festive period, sitting in the top six and with some key players still to return from injury.
Dean Holden has made a hugely impressive start to life as the Robins permanent head coach but he’ll be looking to avoid something his predecessor often fell foul of – faltering in the second half of the campaign.
The return of a string of senior players should aid his cause as may some January reinforcements.
With the winter window fast approaching, there are likely some players that will be desperate to prove a point to Holden. Here we look at three…
The 19-year-old has been the odd man out at City so far this season, featuring just once in the Championship since starting the first game of the 2020/21 campaign.
Massengo seems to have fallen down the pecking order under Holden and with Joe Williams and Liam Walsh still to come back, things may be tougher after the turn of the year.
A loan move could make a lot of sense but the Frenchman will likely be desperate for the opportunity to prove to the new head coach that he is good enough to be used regularly.
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The season started so well for the 23-year-old centre-back and he seemed to be flourishing following injuries to more experienced defenders but some poor performances have seen him fall out of favour.
With Nathan Baker and Alfie Mawson on their way back to fitness, Moore looks in danger of being near the bottom of the pecking order – and that could mean another loan move away from the club.
At his best, the centre-back is resolute in defence and confident with the ball at his feet. He’ll be keen to show Holden that those skills can make him a useful option moving forward.
Injury has kept the no-nonsense centre-back sidelined so far this season but he was back training on grass this week as he ramps up his rehabilitation.
The issue facing him is competition. Zak Vyner and Tomas Kalas have formed a strong partnership, while the experienced Alfie Mawson and Adrian Mariappa are also at the club and Taylor Moore has shown glimpses of his quality.
With his deal set to expire in the summer, Baker will be desperate to prove that he deserves to return to City’s starting XI and to be offered a new contract.