Tuesday 29th September
Enough has been said about away performances and team configurations, it is now time for a result. Without a win in four games, City return to Ashton Gate in an attempt to stop the recent slump. A blinding start to the season has given way to a wet fart of sorts and there is no doubt Ian Holloway would love to pick up a win against his former West Country rivals.
Blackpool can pick up a fourth win on the trot tonight and would compound many critics in doing so. Working on a shoe-string budget he has done extremely well with the players at his disposal. Having said that most fans are likely to feel that anything but a win for City tonight would be a disappointment.
I am actually happy to see McCombe sit out a game and hope to see Nyatanga given a chance to prove himself worthy of a regular slot. I also expect Clarkson to feature and hope to Christ that Sproule does not. Sno looked great against Derby and can hopefully put in another performance like that but maybe we can see a little more width to vary our forward serivce, then maybe Saborio can have a few more opportunities to miss the barn door.
Blackpool have pulled off some convincing wins recently including a home defeat of Newcastle which I doubt many saw coming. I believe Holloway will have the Blackpool players fearless and confident ahead of this fixture and unless we show some ruthlessness we could get a real shock. I predicted defensive frailties against Derby but that didn't seem to help us. Blackpool seem to be suffering from similar issues but I am keeping my gob firmly shut this time.
Result none withstanding, I'd like to see a good performance and perhaps a little something to give Holloway something to make a ridiculous quip about afterwards. The same fixture last year produced a bore goaless draw but I`d rather send the travelling fans back on the ridiculously long trip home sad rather than comatose.
Holloway remained somewhat aloof on facing City but refused to get ahead of himself based on a few good results:
"If we're in a marathon, we've run 100 yards - we've got over 26 miles to go...We haven't started yet. If we're on a first date then they haven't even taken our order yet, we've just sat down."
Gary Johnson meanwhile made no effort to mask his displeasure at McCombe's sending off at the weekend and underlined how important the atmosphere at the Gate will be tonight:
"We saw at Derby when Jamie (McCombe) was sent off, 27,000 fans stopped their moaning and really got behind their side...We need two or three players to find their game and they need to be playing with the confidence the crowd can give them."
Bristol City Team News:
Dean Gerken is still yet to return to the squad for full training, leaving Basso to return to his familiar starting position in goal.
Cole Skuse is fit enough to feature but Liam Fontaine picked up a knock at Derby and Paul Hartley is suffering from shingles.
Obviously, Bambi McCombe will miss the game through suspension.
Player to watch: Evander Sno
Was one of, if not the best player for us against Derby.
If he can pass and move with that much confidence away from home then in front of a 'bouncing' crowd he should run riot.
Blackpool Team News:
Ian Evatt, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Danny Coid, Stephen McPhee, Daniel Nardiello and Ishmel Demontagnac will definitely not feature.
Rob Edwards and Neal Eardley picked up knocks on the weekend and will be assessed ahead of the game.
Due to injury problems stretching the backline options, Blackpool recently loaned Plymouth defender Marcel Seip as emergency cover, and he goes straight into the squad for tonight's game.
Player to watch: Paul Rachubka
The Blackpool keeper was recently named in the Championship team of the week for keeping a clean sheet in their victory over Peterborough.
Rachubka made a few key saves and will most likely need to do the same again, particularly if a familiar defensive setup is disturbed tonight due to injury.
Match Facts & Stats
Blackpool are enjoying their best start to a league campaign in 11 years and have lost just once this season.
City are undefeated at home in 15 games but remain the only team in the division yet to score in the first half of a game.
The referee tonight will be a chimpanzee in a wheelchair.
3-1. We have to score 3 goals at some point, why not tonight?
Sat 3 Oct: Newcastle v Bristol City
Sat 17 Oct: Bristol City v Peterborough
Tues 20 Oct: Bristol City v Plymouth