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Preview: Bristol City v Blues

Blues are back on their travels as they head to Ashton Gate in the Sky Bet Championship.

The trip to Bristol City is the first of back-to-back away matches as Blues play their second of eight December fixtures, boosted by the availability of recent arrival Alen Halilović.

And Aitor Karanka’s men will be looking to bounce back from Tuesday night’s defeat to Barnsley, a result that ended a three-game unbeaten run in which they kept two clean sheets.

The Robins are in good form, winning four of their last six matches, but a similarly impressive record did not deter Blues from taking three points on their last visit when they ended the home sides four-match winning streak back in February of this year.

Now managed by Dean Holden they sit fifth in the table, although Blues know victory on a ground where they have lost only once since 1993 would elevate them towards the top half ahead of a trip to Reading next Wednesday.

THE OPPOSITION:
After relieving former Head Coach Lee Johnson of his duties towards the end of last season, Dean Holden was handed the role on a caretaker basis before being appointed permanently during the close season.

Taking on his second role as a ‘number one’, having previously led Oldham, the 41-year-old has made an impressive start in the South West. Amongst the early pacesetters and firmly in the play-off picture, he garnered further popularity by claiming victory in the Severnside derby over Cardiff City.

Leading the Robin’s strong start has been attacker Nahki Wells, whose five goals have been supported by four Jamie Paterson strikes and a host of players who have found the net twice, including the matchwinner in South Wales Chris Martin. The striker joined the Ashton Gate club this summer following a seven-year spell at Derby County.

Just one point off top spot, they have won as many games as league leaders Norwich City.

LAST TIME OUT:
Blues were left frustrated on Tuesday night when they let slip a winning position to be beaten by Barnsley. For much of the night it appeared Blues had control of the visitors and this was validated when Scott Hogan gave Blues a deserved second half lead. But a disputed penalty and deflected strike in the closing stages saw Blues edged out.

Meanwhile, Bristol City’s most recent outing saw the aforementioned Wells grab both a goal and an assist for Adam Nagy’s winner, as they claimed victory after coming from behind in the capital over Queens Park Rangers. This proved the ideal response to the 3-1 reverse against Reading and goalless draw with Watford.

WE MEET AGAIN:
Bristol City 1 Blues 3, 7 February 2020

Blues recovered from a nightmare start to claim three points on the road at Bristol City and record successive league wins.

Paterson struck inside 40 seconds when he capitalised on a loose ball to round Lee Camp, but Blues composed themselves and drew level in the 23rd minute through Hogan.

And by half-time the turnaround was complete, with former Aston Villa man Andreas Weimann diverting Jude Bellingham’s cross into his own net.

Then, with the clock winding down, victory was secured through Lukas Jutkiewicz’s lofted finish in the second minute of added time as Blues went eight unbeaten in all competitions.

BLUES TEAM NEWS:
Adam Clayton (ankle), Zach Jeacock (ankle) remain unavailable and Caolan Boyd-Munce (thigh). Clean bill of health, elsewhere.

HEAD-TO-HEAD:
Blues wins: 33
Draws: 17
Bristol City wins: 17

LAST FIVE MEETINGS:
Championship 07 Feb 2020 – Bristol City 1 Blues 3
Championship 10 Aug 2019 – Blues 1 Bristol City 1
Championship 26 Feb 2019 – Bristol City 1 Blues 2
Championship 04 Nov 2017 – Blues 0 Bristol City 1
Championship 10 Apr 2018 – Bristol City 3 Blues 1

BLUESTV:
Supporters can watch this game live on BluesTV for only £10.


MATCH OFFICIALS:
Referee: John Brooks
Assistant referees: Akil Howson and Matthew Jones
Fourth Official: Michael Salisbury

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