After coming close last term, Bristol City’s target for the season will surely be to qualify for the Championship play-offs this season.
Six games in they look on track to do that. The Robins are fifth with 11 points from six games and are unbeaten in the league since their opening weekend defeat to Leeds United.
Their start is made all the more impressive by the squad turnover they had to endure late in the transfer window. Some key figures, such as captain Marlon Pack and star defender Adam Webster, departed the club after the start of the season, while 13 new players have joined the club.
The sale of Pack to rivals Cardiff City, a club stalwart with 283 City appearances to his name, was a sore one and left them without a captain.
With the significant squad turnover that has gone on over the summer and the injury issues they have faced, there were not too many obvious options and the honour was passed to 23-year-old Josh Brownhill. What a decision that has seemed so far.
Some players shrink under the pressure of the captain’s armband but others, like Brownhill, seem to grow and become more assured.
The midfielder has made 138 appearances since he arrived at Ashton Gate in June 2016, soon after the arrival of Lee Johnson.
Brownhill had played on loan at Barnsley under Johnson in the 2015/16 season and opted to follow him to Ashton Gate rather than sign a new contract with parent company Preston North End.
Due to his age, it is easy to forget that Brownhill has almost 200 combined League One and Championship appearances and that means he provides some key experience in what is a young City side at the moment.
The 23-year-old is a jack-of-all-trades midfielder with a really high-engine that is always looking to be positive with the ball and in many ways, he sums up what City are all about under Johnson–high-energy, positive football.
He has shown just that this season. Defensively, he has averaged 4.17 interceptions, 7.72 recoveries, and 2.32 clearances per game, as well as winning 51.9% of his aerial duels, while with the ball he has a pass accuracy of 80.7% (Wyscout).
Brownhill revealed after his first game as captain that it was his experience and professional attitude that had earned him the chance to lead the side.
The Robins are unbeaten with Brownhill as their captain and have taken 10 points from four games. Professionalism and experience may have earned him the armband but if he can help his side keep maintain a successful record it may be his performances that ensure he keeps it.