Bristol City

‘Playing Exceptionally Well’ – A Word On The Robins

Bristol Post Sports Editor James Piercy believes Bristol City will arrive at King Power Stadium with plenty of confidence following some positive early season results.
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- Bristol City travel to face Leicester City at King Power Stadium this Saturday (3pm kick-off)
- The Robins head into the fixture four games unbeaten in the Sky Bet Championship
- James Piercy from Bristol Post assessed their start to the season under Nigel Pearson

Leicester City take on the Robins this Saturday (3pm kick-off) with both sides sitting inside the top half of the Sky Bet Championship table. The Foxes are second while the south west outfit lie seventh prior to this weekend’s fixtures.

In a rich vein of form, Nigel Pearson’s side saw off Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday, having taken a point against West Bromwich Albion last Saturday. The Robins also tasted success in their last away fixture – a 2-1 win at Swansea City – providing a boost ahead of meeting Enzo Maresca’s upwardly mobile Foxes.

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Nigel Pearson
Nigel Pearson

There will be a familiar face in the away dugout on Saturday.

“They are just playing really well and looking good,” Piercy explained. “Four games unbeaten, seventh in the table. There was a little bit of doubt about the team in that they were playing exceptionally well away from home and not so good at Ashton Gate – a little bit tentative, things weren’t quite clicking.

“Coming out of the international break, they put in a very good performance against West Brom, certainly in the first half, but a draw was about right. They bottled all that frustration up and let it out against Plymouth. They completely blew them away on Tuesday night. Everything had been building up to a game like that.

“A lot of fans are seeing this game as an event but also as a little bit of a free hit because of the lack of expectation and the strength, depth and quality that Leicester have. It’s got that feel of going to enjoy themselves. There’s not a great deal of anxiety around the team and hopefully they can go and give a good account of themselves.”

Pearson’s return follows two successful spells at Leicester which included earning promotion to the Premier League in 2014 and an unlikely escape from Premier League relegation the subsequent campaign. The 60-year-old also claimed the League 1 title as Foxes Manager back in 2008.

Bristol City like to play quickly in transition. They put in a very good performance against West Brom.

James Piercy Bristol Post Sports Editor

“He’s been very careful to find that balance,” the journalist revealed. “He’s recognising the impact Leicester have had on his career, the enjoyment he had there and the work he did. He’s proud of that and the reception he’ll get at King Power Stadium I imagine will be a positive one.

“He’ll take that in and be respectful and there will be pride to it, but at the same time he is Bristol City manager, he wants three points, and he doesn’t want it to be some kind of glorified testimonial and the story of the game.

“It adds an extra narrative and bizarrely it’s the first time he’s been back, which is an incredible statistic. For the [Bristol City] fans, he’s probably as popular as he’s ever been, so he’s going to be a very loved man in that stadium. Fundamentally that’ll very quickly change and then it’s all about the 90 minutes.”

Bristol City’s front four have registered the majority of the goal contributions so far, including winger Sam Bell’s three strikes, along with Jason Knight, Mark Sykes and Nakhi Wells all providing support across the attacking positions.

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Mark Sykes
Mark Sykes

Mark Sykes celebrates scoring in a 1-1 draw at Hull City last month.

Piercy added: “In attack, Jason Knight who they signed from Derby in the summer, has been excellent. Alex Scott was sold, and Knight has been moved up into a No.10 role, who has been exceptional. His energy on the ball, his relentlessness out of possession, the way he links the ball, he’s just full on, on the front foot, quick and doesn’t hold onto the ball for too long – he’s that sort of playmaker.

“Out wide, Sam Bell on the left has made a significant step up. There’s always been a lot of excitement about what he could do, because he scored a shedload of goals for the Under-21s. He’s found a home on the left. He’s pacy and direct, loves taking defenders on and has brought more finesse to his game. He’s timing his runs, has lots of link-up with Nakhi Wells and can finish.

"On the right, Mark Sykes is incredibly effective. He's full on, direct, goes at players and has really developed his final ball into the box and finishing as well. Bristol City like to play quickly in transition, so that trio are key to it in an attacking sense.”

All times BST.




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