Since I began this blog a little over two years ago I have not offered you kind readers a piece during the international break. Last week was one such break, so this is the first time I have spoken to you since our reassuringly quiet transfer deadline day.
City’s deadline fate was similar to that across the football world in general. Deals that people expected to happen, simply didn’t. In general, the inflated market that saw prices rise to unprecedented levels seemed to steady somewhat as clubs refused to pay various asking prices, meaning the so-called ‘domino effect’ never happened.
City kept hold of their most prized asset in the shape of Aden Flint. After a summer of coming and going, heresy and balderdash, it must be good for the player that he can at least get on with playing football.
As I have said before it is inconceivable to me that a fit and on form Flint doesn’t make our starting line-up, regardless of how well Baker and Wright do. This will no doubt cause Johnson his biggest selection headache for the coming months. My guess is he will keep with the current two until we hit an inevitable bit of bad form – not a bad player to bring in to try and sure things up.
In the one bit of intrigue of deadline day, Hordur Magnuson looked like he was off to Russia on loan – only for things to fall through at the last minute. I’ve made my thoughts about our Icelandic centre-back well known in previous blogs: in short, I’m a fan. I think he is a quality young player that has a great future ahead of him, but sadly, given our now abundant number of centre-backs, I feel that future may end up being plied away from Ashton Gate.
It was reported this week that Bristol City are second only in the Championship to Wolves in the number of players we have loaned out to other clubs. That figure currently stands at fifteen. The loan system, when successful, benefits all parties concerned, as proved with Tammy Abraham last season.
Most of the loanees have gone to local sides, including helping out Gary Johnson at Cheltenham. In general, one would have to say that City are doing things right with the system of trying to bring young players through into the first team, but it will be interesting to see how many of the fifteen currently out on loan will be in the first team in say, three years.
City face a daunting seven games in just twenty-two days, starting with Saturday’s trip to the Madejksi. These include what you’d assume to be tough ties away to the likes of Reading, Wolves and Ipswich. I hope that Johnson rotates his now sizeable squad, given the the number of games we will be playing in a relatively short space of time.
In the past he has been somewhat stubborn when he feels City have played well. “Never change a winning team” is certainly the mantra he has picked up from his father, but Lee also seems to keep faith when he feels the team have played well.
This is perfectly OK, on occasion, but if you do it regardless of the next opponents, this concerns me. If us fans can predict his selections from one game to the next, so can the opposition. Also, it shows a lack of planning for each opponent. Different sides require differing tactics and team selections, don’t they? So, as I mentioned above, we have a strong squad now, Lee, so please, please – be bold and mix things up a little.
Our next two games see us face Reading and then Wolves, both away from Ashton Gate. So far from our opening five games we have won one, lost one and drawn three. Two wins this week would make it a fantastic start to the season; two losses, however, less so.
It looks like City will be backed by around 3000 supporters in Reading this weekend. If one of those is you, I hope you have a fantastic day out and that the players repay your effort, and considerable expenditure, with a decent performance and maybe even a win. Realistically, though City, will do well to get much from these two games, but as ever, finger crossed.