Bristol City - Plymouth Argyle

Bristol City currently hold 9th position with one point far prom 6th Preston and considering the squad quality it’s very probable they’ll finish somewhere around play-off zone, or maybe in it. While they still haven’t won on the road (four draws, two defeats), home performances are outstanding (four wins, two draws) and 14 from possible 18 points have been noticed. Main characteristic of their performance is a game on small number of goals (only Swansea have produced less). They heavily lose the games and when take a lead (usually in the first half) keep the result waiting for some counter attack to finish the job. That style of play cost them three points at Saturday against one of the main contenders for moving in the third tier (beside tonight’s opponent) – Peterborough (1-1 at home) as George Boyd equalized deep in the stoppage time. Now, at Ashton Gate come weak Pilgrims and there is no room for another failure. Won’t be any keeping the minimal lead and the Robins will try to decide the game as soon as possible. Defender Liam Fontaine will be out for a further three weeks with an ankle problem, midfielder Brian Wilson is still out with a shin injury, but Bristol City have no new injury worries and same eleven from weekend are expected. 

After the run of 7 (seven) consecutive defeats, Plymouth noticed two victories, over the fellows from the bottom - Peterborough United (2-1 at home) and against “you’ll never know what to expect from us” - Scunthorpe United (2-1 on the road). Another defeat (at Blackpool, 0-2) turned them back into relegation zone. After the game, boss Paul Sturrock stated the main reason for defeat is 11 hours spent in the bus! Hm…,ok. The problem is squad didn’t return to Devon after the game and spent two days at Stoke-on-Trent (half of the distance). So, players won’t be much more rested than at Saturday. Sturrock announced intention to fresh the squad with new players (what players?!) but the question is are the lads from the bench capable to improve the team’s shape and help to resist at one hell’s place, as Ashton Gate surely is. Club’s officials have insisted that Paul Sturrock's job as manager is safe (those statements usually means opposite) despite the arrival of former Argyle and England striker Paul Mariner as head coach. And Blackpool defeat didn’t help. However, lack of quality, tired players, bad dressing room atmosphere and manager who lost control should be the main reasons (in that order) why I (guess nobody) don’t expect them to take anything from this encounter. Except mentioned freshening the squad, no other injury concerns for Sturrock.

The Robins got a slap from Posh at Saturday. Now they’re focused and full of rage. Will play in front the own fans and three points are at most. On the other half of the pitch will be week and tired Plymouth. This game will be uncertain as far as visitors manage to not concede a goal. Not so long I think. Home win (1.75 at Pinnacle) and handicap as gamble.


One more pick before the kick-off. Cheers.

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