The Sky Bet Championship schedule rolls on this weekend, and Millwall will look to take the opportunity to bounce back from Wednesday’s Den defeat to Birmingham City with this Sunday’s trip to Ashton Gate, to take on Bristol City.
Lee Johnson’s side sit 14th in the League table heading into the contest, following a 3-2 victory away at Ipswich Town on Wednesday night which ended a run of four straight defeats. The Lions sit 21st after the Birmingham clash, and head into a busy December looking to open the gap to the drop zone.
Bristol City have been a League club since 1901, and have spent plenty of time in each of the top three divisions. The club’s best-ever League finish was a runner-up berth in the old First Division in 1907, a year on from winning the second-tier title – one of two promotions from the equivalent of the Championship. City have also lifted three Football League Trophies, reached the FA Cup Final in 1909 where they were narrowly edged out by Manchester United, and only last season flew the EFL flag in the Carabao Cup – pushing eventual champions Manchester City all the way in a two-legged Semi-Final tie after eliminating United in the previous round. The West Country outfit last competed in the top flight in the 1979/80 season, before suffering three successive relegations. City have since worked their way back up to Championship level, and in recent years have had mixed fortunes in the division. The club’s closest brush with the Premier League came in 2008, when they were beaten by Hull City in a Wembley Play-Off Final.
Ones to Watch
Adam Webster (#4) has settled in seamlessly since arriving at Ashton Gate in the summer from Ipswich Town. The central defender has, along with midfielder Marlon Pack, played every minute of Bristol City’s Championship campaign so far. A tall, commanding defender, Webster operates mainly at the heart of the back line but can also shift across to full-back, a role he took on more prominently as a youngster coming through at Portsmouth. Following a loan at Aldershot Town to gain experience, Webster became a mainstay in the Pompey side along with Jed Wallace, before signing for Ipswich in 2016. Webster was an English youth international, having represented The Three Lions at U18 and U19 level, and it is easy to forget his still young age of 23 due to his relative League experience.
Marlon Pack (#21) has become a leading figure of the Bristol City side, captaining the team on numerous occasions. The midfield enforcer possesses plenty of energy and grit in the middle of the park, and has helped progress the club since his arrival from Cheltenham Town in 2013. A consistent player for The Robins, Pack has made well in excess of 200 appearances for the club and at just 27 still has time on his side. A former Portsmouth academy product like Webster, the duo are the only members of Johnson’s squad to have featured in every minute of this League season thus far. After loan spells with Wycombe Wanderers, Dagenham & Redbridge and Cheltenham, the midfielder joined the latter permanently in 2011 and played over 100 times before making the short move to Bristol.
Niclas Eliasson (#19) has progressed well this season, and with four assists has claimed more than any of his teammates at this stage of the campaign. The former Swedish youth international holds hope of making the senior side in the near future, and has already surpassed the number of appearances he made at Ashton Gate in his debut season last term. The 22-year-old began his career in his homeland with Falkenbergs, then turning out for fellow Swedish clubs AIK and Norrkoping, before being recruited by Johnson in 2017. A diminutive, tricky winger with plenty of stamina, Eliasson will be one to keep tabs on in the wide areas should he feature on Sunday afternoon, and is most likely to operate down the right-hand channel.
Andreas Weimann (#14) has been a household name in League football for the past few years, having played his entire senior career in England. Moving from his native Austria to Aston Villa in 2007 as a teenager, forward Weimann made his first-team debut at Villa Park in 2010. The 27-year-old’s relentless, energetic style of play and productive work in and around the box earned him over 100 appearances in the Premier League, with Weimann moving on to Derby County after Villa reached the FA Cup Final in 2015. A coup at Championship level, his three years at Pride Park along with a loan at Wolves in 2017 then saw him sign at Ashton Gate last summer. With five League goals, Weimann currently heads the scoring chart in Johnson’s squad, and is expected to start alongside Jamie Paterson up top. Weimann has 14 Austria caps – the last of which came three years ago.
In the Dugout
Lee Johnson arrived in Bristol in 2016 following a spell at Barnsley, and has shown his coaching promise with The Robins, demonstrated by last season’s top-half finish and Carabao Cup Semi-Final place. Johnson started his managerial career in 2013 aged just 31, when he signed a contract with Oldham Athletic after hanging up his boots as a midfielder, for Bristol City alongside the likes of Yeovil Town and Kilmarnock. This meant the budding coach would be competing in the same division as father Gary, who was managing Yeovil at the time. Still only 37, the experience Johnson possesses for his age is almost unparalleled, and there is hope that the former on-pitch legend can build something to get excited about at Ashton Gate.