This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand….
Bristol City will be aiming to temporarily climb into the Championship’s automatic promotion spots when they travel to face Barnsley this evening.
Lee Johnson’s side are currently sitting sixth after snatching a late point during the 2-2 with Wigan last weekend, and they can draw level on points with league leaders West Brom if they can overcome a struggling Barnsley side at Oakwell.
The Robins’ last away outing saw them suffer an emphatic 3-0 defeat at the hands of Luton, but they have made an otherwise impressive start to the campaign, and managed to collect four points from their following two home games.
However, City needed late goals in both of these matches in order to secure this points return, with Josh Brownhill scoring in stoppage time to clinch victory over Charlton, while Pedro Pereira struck in the final five minutes to seal a point against Wigan.
Johnson made the bold decision to leave Han-Noah Massengo out of the starting line-up for the Wigan clash, but the 18-year-old then came on in the second half and inspired his side to snatch a point, which leaves the City boss with a decision to make ahead of the Barnsley match.
Should Massengo start for Bristol City this evening?
Massengo was a revelation when he was first included in the Robins side following his move from Monaco, which has seen him feature regularly in midfield this term, but this has caused tiredness which has made him less effective in recent weeks.
However, the fact he impressed from the bench against Wigan may have been enough to convince Johnson that he should return to the starting line-up against the Tykes, with this appearing a sensible move given the ways in which Massengo can contribute to an away performance.
Massengo has excellent ball retention skills which could prove invaluable during a difficult away match and, for this reason, the Frenchman seems like a safer pick ahead of Kasey Palmer who provides his side with more of an attacking outlet.
However, Johnson will need to decide whether he feels Massengo needs more time to rest following a relentless start to the season, as it is important not to overwork the midfielder in order to protect him from injury.
The 18-year-old has featured much more heavily than many would have expected to the point where he has become a key part of Bristol City’s system, but Johnson must find the right balance between utilising his abilities and taking care of his development.