Monday 20 October 2008

Bristol City Preview

Tomorrow night will be the first mid-week league fixture at the Valley this season with a visit from Bristol City. The same fixture last season was also a mid-week encounter resulting in 1-1 draw. Bristol City were league leaders at the time and it wasn't difficult to see why. Their compact and tidy brand of football demonstrated why they were mounting a promotion bid whilst we were stuttering, even is they did ultimately fall just short. They have not started out so strongly this term but sit just one point outside of the play-off places after a 1-0 victory over Norwich at the weekend.

We desperately need a win tomorrow, both to lift morale and improve on our desperate 19th place league position. With Hudson and Semedo both banned for this one after events at Cardiff, Pardew will be forced into a couple of changes, although it's not like he needs an excuse these days.

The only positive that you could possibly take from the two suspensions is that we might, and this is a massive might, see the long overdue return of Yassin Moutaouakil to the right back slot with Cranie moving inside to centre half. Yassin has been out of the side since the Preston game now for no discernible reason that I can make out. His replacement has hardly impressed having been hauled half way through the last two matches, and with not even a place on the subs bench for poor Yass I do wonder if something's going on here. We will probably find out tomorrow because as the official club website suggests (more), another alternative would be for Youga to move into the centre and Basey to move to left back. This would mean that a) we have a left back playing centre half, b) Martin Cranie will still be playing right back and c) I'll be very unhappy. Throw us a bone with this one please Pards.

I can't imagine any changes to the midfield, although there might be a place for Josh Wright on the bench given how short we are after suspensions, injuries and Jonjo Shelvey disappearing to play for England Under-17's (not great timing that). I don't know whether Svetoslav Todorov didn't make it off the bench on Saturday because we lost half our defence, or because he was being rested for this one, but either way I think we will see him start up front with Luke Varney. Andy Gray will probably have to settle for a place on the bench with Chris Dickson banging his head against a wall somewhere presumably.

I hesitate to predict a team, but I always do so here is what I am going for: Weaver; Moutaouakil, Cranie, Primus, Youga; Ambrose, Bailey, Holland, Bouazza; Todorov, Varney. Subs: Elliot, Basey, Sam, Gray, Wright.

If I'm being totally honest, I don't see us getting anything more than a point of this game and our rehashed defensive line has got to be on form to contain Trundle and co. We need to play the Robins at their own game - keep the ball, keep it on the deck and show a bit of determination and character. I really want to come out of The Valley smiling tomorrow evening so please, please can we have a win?!

No comments: