View From The Opposition: Bristol City (A) ryanlufc February 11, 2011 Away Fans Views 2 Comments Thanks to Chris Elkins (@BrizzleChris on Twitter). Ryan – We last met in November when Leeds were 3-1 winners at Elland Road, thanks to a Luciano Becchio hat-trick. Has much changed for Bristol City since then? Chris – Well the first thing that springs to mind is that we’ve not seen Nicky Hunt feature since! He came on for an injured Louis Carey and looked at fault for all three of Becchio’s goals. Since then, we’ve had some really impressive results – none moreso than the display we put in against Cardiff at home on New Years Day but we’ve continued our mixed bag of results – failing to score in five successive games, nightmare displays at home to Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday (FA Cup). More importantly after picking up only 17 points from the 17 games upto and including our trip to Elland Road, we’ve since picked up 18 from 13 and pulled away from the relegation dogfight although we still have work to do to ensure we’re playing Championship football next season. Ryan – You’re currently sat at 18th in the table but what have you made of Bristol’s season so far & where do you expect to finish this year? Chris – Well I don’t think it’s quite what anyone would have predicted or been expecting. After capturing the headlines in the summer with the appointment of Steve Coppell – a proven manager at this level with a track-record of success – and the flagship signing of a member of England’s 2010 World Cup campaign, hopes were high that we could push on after 3 successive seasons of top 10 places in the Championship. Losing Coppell so early after a couple of losses to Millwall and Southend (League Cup), the club seemed to be suffering from complete shock at events and took a while to recover. Since then, under Keith Millen, we’ve made steady progress although we are still far too inconsistent. When we play our football, we’ve shown we can match and beat anyone but equally we can be far too easy to beat. Milly’s made some cracking signings and Keogh and Woolford in the January window look like they should help us pull away from the bottom three. I think we’ll probably finish around 14th-16th which after a turbulent start will be very welcome. Overall its been a really mixed bag and at times – as a home-and-away’er, its been a long, long season! Ryan – In the summer Bristol City pulled off a massive shock by signing England ‘keeper David James, what’s he been like for you this season? Chris – Jamo has been brilliant from where I’ve been looking. Yes, he’ll admit he’s not happy with the number of clean sheets (although we’re fifth highest in the league) and goals conceded thus far this season but he’s been playing behind what has been a very easy-to-beat defence at times. Looking back over the season so far, you struggle to find any goals where’s he’s failed us – perhaps only Ipswich away should he have done better. I think its important to recognise he’s more than a player for us – hopefully our younger players (and not just the goalkeepers) can take lots from having someone with 850 league appearances and more than 50 England caps behind them. Ryan – Who should we be looking out for in your team on Saturday? Chris – It’s difficult to pick just one player so I’ll highlight a few of ours… Albert Adomah is a tricky winger who was the highlight of our start to the season – he made the step up from League Two to Championship with aplomb and has grabbed a few goals. Steven Caulker has been impressive at the back – at just 18, he looks a real leader and I certainly expect him to do very well when he does return to Tottenham and fully expect him to have an England career ahead of him. Brett Pitman is another who has stepped up to the Championship – after taking a little time to settle in, he’s now showing that he’s a real finisher and with 9 goals to his tally so far it would be good to see him hit the double figures mark this weekend. Another player to look for but one we’ve not yet seen this season is the return of last season’s Championship top scorer – Nicky Maynard. Nicky is an absolute finisher able to score from nothing. Expect him to figure on the bench and hopefully play a part in the closing stages. Ryan – The Championship 2010/11: 3 up, 3 down? Chris – Going up: QPR – just superbly consistent, Nottingham Forest – an incredible home record, Swansea City – play the best football I’ve seen this season. Going down: Preston – already gone for me, Scunthorpe – look weak after losing a few players in the January window, Crystal Palace – just don’t think they have enough to survive Ryan – What have you made of Leeds’ return to The Championship? Chris – I’ve not been too surprised by what Leeds have done so far (and indeed your fellow promoted sides Norwich and Millwall). In the same way we did back in our first season in the Championship in 07/08, all three sides have carried over the winning mentality you had in League One. I’d expect all three to be in the shake-up for play-off spots (with Millwall probably the most likely to fall away) and once you’ve made it there anything can happen – it’s 3 games which make or break your season. Ryan – If you could sign one current Leeds player for Bristol, who would it be? Chris – Well Becchio would have to be up there for me – a good goalscoring record and also a good number of assists for a front man although with the return of Nicky Maynard, I’m not sure we need another front man. Jonny Howson is perhaps someone we might need a little more – someone who creates chances for others is something we’ve been lacking this season after losing Paul Hartley pulling the strings in the summer. I’d also highlight Kasper Schmeichel – although again I think the three keepers we already have on our books are more than good enough for the Championship. Ryan – Finally, what’s your prediction for the game? I’m going for a 2-1 Leeds win! Chris – Predicting results for our games this season has been nigh on impossible from the opening day capitulation to Millwall to the demolition of Cardiff on New Years Day. After scoring 4 and, more importantly, putting in an impressive display of football at Deepdale last weekend I’ve got hope we’ll put in a good display and take at least a point. City to steal a 1-0 win.