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What Bristol City need to do to finally get into the play-offs: Opinion

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Bristol City narrowly and quite desperately missed out on the final play-off place at the hands of Derby County.

It is a disappointment not too dissimilar from the one supporters suffered last season; their team looked destined for play-offs and maybe even automatic promotion before their eventual demise to finish 11th.

Despite this reoccurring resent, it was another successful season nonetheless as they recorded their highest position in English football since the 2007-08 season where they finished fourth in the Championship.

But what do the Robins need to do to avoid this disappointment for a third season running and change from play-off challengers to promotion executors?

If City are to take inspiration from any Championship promotion it will have to be Huddersfield Town’s amazing rise to the Premier League ranks. Like the Terriers, Lee Johnson’s side do not have the budget to compete with promotion rivals such as Derby County, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa.

So, instead, they need to rely on self-belief and invest their time in young players who are hungry and desperate to play for the badge.

Players like Lloyd Kelly and Liam Walsh should be given the opportunity and are exactly the type of young, determined and talented individuals who may help City achiever this elusive play-off spot.

Like what Huddersfield and more recently Wolverhampton Wanderers did in their last respective promotions, Bristol need to look again to the loan market. They did so this season on signing the likes of Tomas Kalas, Jay Dasilva and Kasey Palmer.

Kalas, in particular, has been a colossus for City this season and they would be very lucky to redeem his services for another season. If Johnson can go even better in his recruitment of the loan market in the Summer, then his side might stand a better chance of reaching the Premier League.

Only once you get in the top-flight are Championship sides able to retain their more successful loans on another loan deal or even a permanent contract. Huddersfield and Wolves did this abidingly.

Finally, young loan players are nothing if not for experienced heads to guide them. City must keep hold of the likes of Andreas Wiemann, Josh Brownhill and Jamie Patterson who have all been crucial players for them this season too.

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