This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Fan Perspective’ series, this content strand is where we deliver an opinion-based outlook from the perspective of a certain club’s fanbase on the matter at hand…
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the end of the Championship season, Bristol City find themselves in a very familiar position.
As they were last season, Lee Johnson’s side are teetering on the edge of the top six–sitting one point and one place behind sixth-place Preston North End.
With nine games to go, City certainly have time to close that gap and will likely feel if they can regularly produce the sort of level they showed against Fulham on the weekend they will achieve just that.
The Robins host Preston on the last day of the season at Ashton Gate, which looks set to be a pivotal clash in the race for the top six.
The play-offs are, of course, a means to an end. They give four Championship sides another chance to find that golden ticket and secure a place in the Premier League.
However, at this point, you feel many City fans will be more concentrated on what a top-six finish would mean for the club’s development than harbouring realistic dreams of making the step up to the top flight.
It would be massive for Johnson and his squad to finally get over that hurdle, to take that step forward that they failed to take last season.
It has been 12 years since the Robins last made the play-offs and suffered a cruel, heartbreaking defeat in what is often dubbed the ‘world’s richest game’.
City fans have been through quite the rollercoaster ride since Dean Windass thumped home Hull City’s winner in the xth minute at Wembley.
They suffered a gradual decline in the five years after the play-off defeat, which culminated in relegation from the Championship in 2012/13 and a 12th-place finish in League One the following year.
Since then it has been a gradual rise–the double-winning season in 2014/14, the arrival of Johnson in 2015/16 and improved league positions in every campaign since.
This season has been far from plain sailing for the City boss, who has had to deal with the sale of three vital men and injuries to multiple key players, but if the Robins can secure a place in the play-offs it could be huge for him, his squad and the fans.
The Ashton Gate faithful will feel that 12 years is long enough to be without play-off football–a top-six finish would be huge for them, marking their return among the top sides in the Championship and, hopefully, the end of a rollercoaster period for the club.