Bristol City will be keen to bounce back this Sunday after suffering an agonising defeat to Queens Park Rangers on Thursday evening, as they face midtable outfit Millwall at Ashton Gate.
The Robins managed to get off to the best possible start against the R’s in midweek as they took the lead through a deflected Alex Scott effort in the third minute, but lapses on concentration at the end of both halves proved to be costly as they came away from this clash with Mark Warburton’s men without a point.
Manager Nigel Pearson took the big decision of dropping first-choice shot-stopper and captain Daniel Bentley in their last outing, giving himself a major dilemma ahead of this one in terms of who to start with Max O’Leary performing well enough to retain his place.
Quiz: Can you name which club Bristol City signed these 20 strikers from?
Pearson’s men face a Millwall side that will be full of confidence going into this away tie after beating previous high-flyers Coventry City at the Coventry Building Society Arena, a ground that was once a fortress for the West Midlands side before their recent dip in form.
Perhaps that game against Mark Robins’ side has given the Lions a false sense of security because the Sky Blues were winless in their previous five matches prior to that tie on Wednesday evening, but this confidence is something City will need to be wary of as they look to get themselves on track.
Their last three wins in the league have come at home after putting an end to their torrid run of form at Ashton Gate at the end of October against Barnsley – but can they win another vital three points in this one?
It’s impossible to predict that – but we can predict the starting lineup Pearson may go with ahead of this weekend’s tie.
Weighing it up between Bentley and O’Leary, City’s manager won’t want to keep chopping and changing between the two and that’s why Bentley may come back in, but O’Leary did nothing wrong to be dropped so he should stay put at this stage.
Pearson may change up the formation though after George Tanner’s injury to play three at the back, with Tomas Kalas, Rob Atkinson and Zak Vyner forming the defensive trio. Atkinson came on for Tanner in the first-half against QPR, so it would be no surprise to see him included in the starting 11.
The wing-backs are slightly more attacking than many would prefer, especially with Jed Wallace likely to be a real threat out wide, but the Robins should have a controlled arrogance about them as the home side and this positivity could pay off.
Callum O’Dowda and Thursday’s goalscorer Scott are the ones to drop back there, although both could prove to be real assets going forward, so that’s an exciting prospect for City fans.
Han Noah-Massengo comes into the lineup as the second change of three from their last match – and it’s an enforced one with Andy King being sent off for two bookable offences. He couldn’t really have too many complaints with that, especially the second one with Stefan Johansen threatening to break forward.
Matty James, who was superb against the R’s starts alongside the 20-year-old Frenchman and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the former play a crucial part in a possible victory for the Robins.
In a more advanced midfield position, Andi Weimann starts centrally behind the two forwards, and will no doubt be an asset as an effective operator both in the middle and out wide. Scoring nine goals in 24 league games this term, he has done exceptionally well to bounce back from his ACL injury.
In fairness to the club, they did reward him with a new contract which was a risk, but that decision has paid off and he is now repaying the faith the second-tier side’s hierarchy placed in him during the summer.
Up top, Chris Martin comes back into the starting lineup as a potentially preferred partner to Antoine Semenyo – and Cameron Pring is the one to drop out in his place.