Bristol City v Sheffield Wednesday
A leading online betting exchange has assisted the gradual shortening off City's odds against Sheffield Wednesday this afternoon, alluding that not only we are clear favourites but they more and more people are backing us financially. On paper, this is a home banker (not that there are any in this league) and most educated voices are predicting the same - this alone means we will probably drop points.
Leicester beating QPR (yay) at Loftus Road last night poked a finger in the eye of any doubters that the Championship is one of the most competitive and surprising leagues in the world, especially this year. There are currently 16 teams in our division within 10 points of each other and any fool could predict that a busy Christmas schedule could see the current order completely changed.
With that in mind, so approaches this afternoon's fixture. This is where I talk about Wednesday having one of the worst way records in the league, which is true, but I seem to remember making similar remarks about Peterbrough (who still have the worst but one) who managed to leave the Gate with a point.
Sheffield Wednesday are certainly not a club in form but we face them at a dangerous time. On the back of a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Watford and being constantly reminded of poor away form, the players will have low confidence but will also have nothing to lose and a cautious approach to the game may produce the best result. City seem to be masters at starting slow, and I'm predicting this will guide us to three points this afternoon. Cue an early home goal and a late equaliser.
Liam Fontaine is still absent with an ankle injury and Bradley Orr has been confirmed as being unavailable for this game an achilles problem, allowing the current golden boy Cole Skuse to deputise at right back. Michael Gray and Leon Clarke will miss out for the Owls through injury and although Richard Wood was feared absent through injury he may now play a part despite being recently transfer listed. Manager Brian Laws has reported a virus outbreak throughout the Owls squad which will pose further problems ahead of their visit to Ashton Gate, something City fans can sympathise/taunt their opposition about.
Owls midfielder James O'Connor commented ahead of the game:
'Three points makes such a difference because the league is so tight. If you do get that win, it gives everybody a belief. The expectation is on Bristol City and it's a game that we can hopefully do well in.'
Gary Johnson was cautiously optimistic ahead of the clash:
'When you lose 4-1 [to Watford], often a manager looks at his squad to bring in other players and liven things up - perhaps giving one or two a kick up the backside...that means we're not sure of their starting eleven, their shape or their philosophy. Generally they like to play a bit of football, but it makes them a little bit unknown.'
I'm predicting a 3-0 or 3-1 win for City. Most things that could go wrong for Wednesday have gone wrong and this virus that is circulating is a unknown quantity, much like their starting lineup. Very interested to see who starts for City since there was no midweek game. Up the Robins.