Bristol City have had a fantastic season so far, after the disappointments of the last few years. Relegation to League One was followed by a poor season last term but manager Steve Coterill has changed things right around since taking over in December 2013. They were really struggling at the bottom end of League One when he took over and he managed to guide them to mid-table safety before making a real promotion push this season round.
City have only lost two of their 20 league games so far this season, not losing until the 17th outing after a 1-0 defeat to Swindon which ended a 22-match unbeaten run in League One, dating back to last season.
The Robins have found the right balance between defence and attack. They are equally solid in both departments, boasting the joint second best defence and the third best attack. This is a real key for any team particularly at this level where we have seen teams both score and let in plenty, but Bristol City have the best of both worlds in this instance.
In terms of attack, clever summer signings are to thank for the amount of goals they have scored. 35-year-old Aaron Wilbraham was brought in on a free transfer from Crystal Palace and is the club’s top scorer so far with 10 league goals. Wilbraham has plenty of experience at this level with MK Dons and has adapted to life extremely well following tough spells at Norwich and Crystal Palace.
Kieran Agard was signed from Rotherham for a fee around the £750,000 mark, after a high scoring season with Rotherham. He scored 21 goals as The Millers secured back-to-back promotions but Agard decided to stay put in League One which could prove to be a great decision if Bristol City win promotion and Rotherham fall back down to the third tier.
Agard has netted seven league goals in 16 appearances but has looked quick, sharp and threatening throughout his spell so far; he can play either on the wing or up-front, giving plenty of options to the manager and proving a great asset to the club. Wilbraham and Agard are forming a terrific partnership, one that will continue to be key to Bristol City’s dominant promotion campaign.
In goal, the Robins possess perhaps the best goalkeeper in the division. Frank Fielding was signed from Derby in 2013 and is one of the main reasons why Bristol City have the joint best defence in League One, conceding just 19 from his 20 appearances.
Considering the nature of the division where there are plenty of goals scored, this is a very good return for the back-line. Fielding had been a regular for Derby before his move to City, so has experience of a higher division should the club continue the expected path to promotion.
The young defence of Mark Little, Aden Flint, Derrick Williams and Luke Ayling have been extremely impressive in front of Fielding. Considering the age and relative inexperience of playing together as a back four, it has been a terrific season for the defence and City will hope they can continue to grow as the club move on to bigger and better challenges.
With a young, hungry and extremely talented squad put together by Steve Cottrell Bristol City are playing an exciting brand of football which has led to their turn around in fortunes from last season.
With an equally impressive defence as their attack, City are looking like odds on favourites to continue their excellent run and win promotion back to the Championship.