It has been a rocky start to the season for Bristol City and Lee Johnson.
The Robins were outclassed by Leeds United in their Championship opener and then could only grab a draw from an improved performance against Birmingham City a week later.
City were knocked out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening and then were dealt a further blow yesterday as it was announced that defender Jay Dasilva’s injury is far worse than first thought.
We turn to FLW’s Ned Holmes to find out all about the situation in this FLW six pointer…
Will he be missed?
“Dasilva is City’s first-choice left-back and an England under-21 international.
“The 21-year-old impressed while on loan last season and was one of three Chelsea players to join the Robins permanently in the summer.
“He is a talented young player who has all the qualities to be a top-class left-back – he is quick, solid defensively and can be a handful in the final third. So yes, he will.”
How bad is the injury?
“The defender has picked up “hefty stress fracture” on his tibia, according to Johnson.
“It was originally diagnosed as a “small tibia fracture” but it appears that the injury is much worse than first thought and City could be without him for a large part of the season.”
When is he set to return?
“Johnson told The Bristol Post that he would not be able to return to training for 10 to 12 weeks and he would need a “steady build-up after that”.
“That means the left-back could be out until the mid-January 2020.”
Why will he be missed?
“Yes, for multiple reasons.
“He is the club’s first-choice left-back and played an important part in the Robins finishing with the fifth-meanest defence in the Championship last season.
“Dasilva made 31 appearances in the 2018/19 campaign and looked set to play a pivotal role in City’s promotion push this season.
“His injury also limits the tactical flexibility that Johnson has, as the other options in the squad are not suited to playing in both a back three and a back four.”
Who will replace him in the City side?
“Tommy Rowe is the clear candidate to replace Dasilva and has done so in the two games that the 21-year-old has missed so far.
“The 30-year-old joined from Doncaster Rovers this summer and is a defensive midfielder by trade but is more than comfortable at left wing-back.
“Rowe is an asset going forward but there are question marks about him defensively and I think he too attack-minded to suit to playing in a back four.
“Nathan Baker is capable of filling in at left-back but would likely unbalance the side, while Callum O’Dowda is another option if Johnson is willing to play wing-backs.”
Finally, what does it mean for the Robins’ promotion hopes?
“The defender’s lengthy absence could be a huge blow to their promotion hopes.
“City’s success last season was built around their solid defensive unit and Johnson would like have been hoping to keep that together as they push for the top six this season.
“The Robins have already lost their best defender, Adam Webster, this summer and the injury to Dasilva further depletes Johnson’s defensive options and limits his tactical flexibility.
“The City coach has discussed looking for a centre-back in the free-agent market so it will be interesting to see if they look to make any additions to add cover or competition for Rowe.”