One Blog in Bristol: Enjoying the Rollercoaster Ride

Bristol City may be displaying wildly inconsistent form this season, but podcaster Stanley Hughes believes the positives outweigh the negatives.

Ashton Gate stadium, home of Bristol City FC, at night.

City are ridiculously inconsistent right now, we’re all okay with that

I don’t think anyone at Bristol City would have an issue with being labelled “inconsistent”, we’re yet to go more than three games without winning but are still waiting to win back to back games. A crazy stat, the sort of thing would go viral had it happened on someone’s football manager save. The sort of thing that would have you reporting a bug to EA Sports or Sports Interactive. Thinking surely this is written into the code, why is the game not letting me find some form.

We’ve shown chaotic form since the start of the year; four wins, one draw and six losses. Yet I’d say it’s the most consistent we’ve seen Bristol City since Nigel Pearson took over. Ignoring the winless runs last season… The team right now is showing consistent level of application, of desire and a consistent way of playing. We are seeing a City team fighting each game, a team that is playing for each other. There are no passengers in this team right now, everyone is doing their job and helping others do theirs.

High Commitment Levels a Requirement

Speaking of passengers, Jay Dasilva is back on the bus as of late. His performances on our left hand side have been a welcome addition of calmness and quality on the ball. Him and Sam Bell are two players unfamiliar with the right back role, both have performed admirably in that position recently. The impression the latter has made on me is a great one. It’s one thing slotting into a new team at such a young age. It’s another thing to do it in a completely new position. One that arguably couldn’t be further away from his favoured position, striker.

As with all our other young players, his work rate and desire have been perfect. Youngsters like Massengo, Semenyo and Scott have set the standard. Anyone coming into this team right now, young or old now knows the levels of commitment that are required. We aren’t losing games due to lack of effort, we aren’t failing to win due to minimal desire.

Exciting Young Talent Buoys Up the Fans

Despite losing late, fans are still comfortable with where we are.

City fans are used to losing games late on. It’s not a new phenomenon. I’m sure you could come up with a pretty crushing top ten list. Maybe we’re just becoming numb to defeats that are meant to be heartbreaking. After Tuesday’s loss, it didn’t seem to affect people a huge amount. It could be because City fans are watching a team that is showing consistent desire and effort. Add to that the fact that it’s filled with young exciting local talent and it’s perhaps unsurprising that fans are more than content with our lowly league position. It’s not the only barometer to success of course.

This weekend’s game against Forest is another game, like Tuesday’s, where the desire and effort will have to be at the maximum to get anything from it. Coventry were a very good side, a team awkward to play against who counter fast. Like any good team in the Championship, Forest will be similar. We’ve got some very capable young players, Brennan Johnson is arguably better than any of them. If he’s playing on the left, Sam Bell is going to need constant help from the wider midfielder and his centre back inside of him.  Our midfield lacked a bit of defensive solidity with the absence of Joe Williams on Tuesday. I think he’ll be a welcome return tomorrow.

Ahead of the Forest game, we have absolutely no idea how it’s gonna go. I’m never one for predictions but this season seems even more pointless. Every game is hard to predict, we lose the bankers and win the next game. The inconsistency is arguably the most frustrating part of watching City this season. The results aren’t consistent but at least we’re seeing a consistent level of work rate and desire. If that continues then who knows how we’ll get on against Forest. We’re watching a young, inconsistent team who are giving it their all. We’ve got players worth celebrating and players who get us off our seats. It’s a rare period where City fans are simply happy to watch them try their best and revel in the wins when they come. Let’s hope another one comes against Forest.

Stanley Hughes is host of the popular ‘One Stream In Bristol’, the original Bristol City FC podcast. He writes about The Robins every week for MansionBet.
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