As we sit at the top of the EFL Championship with those feisty Swans flapping their giant wings beneath us in second place we now face another challenge from the Western side of our sceptred isle as in Dean Holden’s Bristol City.
Our scalp remains very much a prized one as we can gather when we absorb Robins’ head coach Holden’s answer to the question: Will this be your toughest game of the season?
“I think if you look on paper, yes, this could be. But we don’t know do we? Some of the games against the teams in and around the bottom of the division have been really tough games as well.
“Norwich City are one of the teams relegated from the Premier League with parachute money and they have an incredible depth to their squad. I think they only really lost Lewis [Ben Godfrey too, Dean?] in the summer and they kept Cantwell, Aarons and Buendia, top players.
“They’ve been the best team this season so far, and that’s why they’re top of the league. It’s a fantastic game and we go there with belief and like every game believing that we can get something from it. We’re full of confidence and it’s going to be a game we look forward to.”
Sounds like our Dean fancies his chances to me and although they still have a few long-term injuries both Alfie Mawson and Kasey Palmer are well and truly back and there is also the chance that striker Antoine Semenyo might feature for the first time in a while as he was confirmed by Holden as part of their squad earlier today.
The Robins got off to a cracking start to the campaign by winning their first four games on the bounce but since then they have been a bit up and down. Our visit to Ashton Gate was notable for the fact that we scored three goals in the game, a bit of a rarity if I’m honest, and we seemed more or less in total control on the day.
Holden said that every one of his lads that played in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Barnsley are available tomorrow evening.
But what of us?
There was an absolutely deadpan response from Daniel Farke just now at his pre-match Press Conference on the topic of the signing that is apparently not over the line yet as in left back Dimitris Giannoulis, referring to paperwork and work permit issues. Farke wouldn’t commit himself but I would guess we’ve got him and it’s simply a case of getting the registration over the line.
Teemu Pukki is out [sensibly rested imo] while Zimbo should be back for the Cup game with Barnsley on Saturday following a minor muscle injury in the hip region. Xavi Quintilla and Bali Mumba need more training time after contracting Covid so both are out too. Lukas Rupp and Josh Martin have trained this week so could take their places on what might well be a full bench.
And talking of back in training so is Tim Krul, although I suspect Daniel Barden will once again get the nod tomorrow, even if only so DF’s *Cup keeper* gets some practise in for Barnsley on Saturday. Can you imagine Timmy Krul on the bench tomorrow? It could happen.
With no further maladies reported after Cardiff I would expect the same starting line-up with the gift of a fully occupied bench.
MFW stalwart Alex B is confident, saying in a socially distanced interview from Blackpool [okay, a quick email exchange]:
“Bristol City as like most of our recent games will be tough and they have some excellent players.
“For tomorrow night I can possibly see a similar team selection to the Cardiff one as I think Krul and Pukki may be benched as it’s a game too soon for them both also Pukki could do with a bit of a rest.
“Xavi Quintilla could be in from the start but I would find it hard to drop Sorensen after his brilliant stint as stand-in left back.”
Alex reckons a repeat of the first fixture as in 3-1 Norwich.
Fellow MFW regular *Ed* aka the other Alex tells me:
“It would be brilliant if we could start in a similar vein as we did when we went to Ashton Gate and see another worldy from Emi or TC. I’m fairly confident that the latter will repeat his strike against Cardiff in front of the Barclay before long.
“Timmy Krul might well be back, but I’d be quite happy to see Daniel Barden continue in goal and Jordan Hugill seems to have adapted better to Farkeball of late.”
And unless you’re choosing to watch the match on Sky, let’s all welcome back Chris Goreham on the iFollow commentary.