Bristol City welcome QPR to Bs3 today with Nigel Pearson in search of his first win at Ashton Gate as Robins boss.
City were beaten at home by Bournemouth in midweek with Cameron Carter-Vickers’ 88th-minute goal proving decisive.
There were certainly positives for Pearson to take from the display, however, and earning three points from his first two games – both against top-six sides – is by no means a bad start.
He will likely view the arrival of the R’s, who have lost two on the bounce, as a good opportunity to get back to winning ways.
With that in mind, here are the decisions facing Pearson ahead of the 3pm kick-off…
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What system to use
City started their new manager’s first game in charge in a 3-5-2 formation but set up in a 4-1-4-1 against Bournemouth.
The R’s haven’t been quite as dangerous going forward and are unlikely to dominate possession in the way that the Robins’ previous two opponents have, so could we see a more attacking approach this afternoon.
At previous clubs, Pearson has shown an affinity to a 4-2-3-1 formation, while City have played arguably their best football under him when they switched to a 4-3-3 in the second half against Swansea.
It could be time for the 57-year-old to shift things around and look to be positive.
Who to play at left-back
An ongoing issue that may influence how City line up is the injuries to their left-backs, Pearson confirmed that Jay Dasilva and Tommy Rowe remain out, while George Nurse and Cam Pring are also sidelined.
Teenage centre-back Ryley Towler has been used as a left wing-back but Steven Sessegnon looks the most likely option, having impressed against Bournemouth in midweek.
The Fulham loanee is capable of playing on both flanks but having recently returned from an injury himself, Pearson will have to weigh up whether or not to risk starting him again just four days after the Cherries tie.
You feel he doesn’t really have a choice but it’s certainly a decision that he faces.
Whether or not to rotate
The Sessegnon dilemma is part of a wide issue that Pearson faces – how much should he look to rotate and how much should he continue to rely on players that he has already shown he trusts.
Other than a change at left-back, the City boss has named the same starting XI for his first two games.
Opting to do the same again would mean a lot of football in a week and on the back of a defeat, could it be time for him to freshen things up a little?