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Let’s Talk About…Bristol City



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The Swans will be eager to bounce back from the disappointment of Tuesday’s defeat to Stoke when they travel to Ashton Gate on Friday. Their next opponents are Bristol City on Friday night. The hosts currently sit in 11th place with four points, while Swansea are 20th with one point.

Bristol City started their season with a 1-1 home draw with Blackpool, missing out on all three points thanks to an injury time equaliser from Blackpool’s Shayne Lavery. They followed that with a penalty shootout defeat to Forest Green in the League Cup, before losing 2-1 away to Middlesbrough. However, they picked up their first win of the season on Tuesday, beating Reading 3-2 away.

Their transfer window so far


Of Bristol City’s three summer signings, only one of them required a transfer fee. They brought in defender Robert Atkinson from Oxford United for an undisclosed fee, believed to be seven figures.

They have bolstered their midfield options with two experienced players. First, they signed Matty James on a free transfer, after he left Leicester City. James spent 9 years at Leicester after joining from Manchester United but was restricted to limited appearances in his latter years at the club. He spent last season on loan at both Barnsley and Coventry City.

Also joining James and Atkinson is an ex-Swansea midfielder. Andy King, who spent the second half of the 2017-18 season at the Swans, also joined the Robins on a free transfer. Like James, King is also an ex-Leicester player, having enjoyed 14 years with the senior team. He made 329 league appearances for the club in his time, including 25 in their historic Premier League title-winning season in 2015-16. He was last with OH Leuven in the Belgian First Division A but made just one appearance for the club.


While they have only brought in three players, Bristol City have seen a far longer list of players exit the club on free transfers this season.

Most notably are Jamie Paterson and Liam Walsh, who joined Swansea City on free transfers. Walsh has missed every league game so far with injury, while Paterson scored on his debut in Swansea’s 2-1 defeat to Blackburn on the opening weekend.

Meanwhile, Jack Hunt and Tommy Rowe returned to Sheffield Wednesday and Doncaster Rovers respectively. Henri Lansbury joined Luton Town and Famara Diédhiou, who was linked with Swansea earlier this month, joined Turkish side Alanyaspor.

Marley Watkins left to join Cardiff, although the former Swansea youth player is set to leave the club at the end of the month, despite scoring a brace in their 3-2 victory over Sutton United.

The club also lost Hakeeb Adelakun, Aden Baldwin, Opi Edwards, Rene Gilmartin, Adrian Mariappa and Joe Wollacott, while George Nurse moved to Shrewsbury Town for an undisclosed fee.

Familiar faces

Other than the aforementioned Andy King, who scored twice in his short spell at Swansea, the Bristol City squad also boasts one more ex-Swan.

Kasey Palmer spent the first half of last season on loan at Swansea but was recalled in January 2021 after limited appearances. He played 12 times for the Swans, with his only goal coming in a 2-0 home win over Stoke. When the two clubs met later in the season, Palmer scored directly from a corner as Bristol City beat Swansea 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium.

Their manager

Given the summer signings of Andy King and Matty James, as well as Danny Simpson in March, it is no surprise to learn that Bristol City are managed by ex-Leicester boss Nigel Pearson.

Pearson took the Bristol City job in February 2021, replacing Dean Holden. The side were in 15th at the time and 10 points clear of the relegation zone, although they had suffered seven straight defeats. They finished 19th, eight points above the bottom three.

While Pearson is most known for his managerial career, he did enjoy a playing career which spanned 17 years. He began his career at second-tier Shrewsbury Town, where he made 153 league appearances across a six-year spell.

He left to join top-flight Sheffield Wednesday midway through the 1987-88 season. After the club were relegated in 1990, he was a key member of their team that achieved promotion the following season. He made 39 appearances, scoring a career-high six goals from defence. He remained at the club until 1994, when he left to join Middlesbrough in the second tier.

In his first season at Middlesbrough, he played 33 league games and scored three goals as they were promoted back to the Premier League as champions, after two years away from the top flight. He missed just two games in the 1995-96 season as Middlesbrough finished 12th. However, the club were relegated the following season, finishing 19th despite picking up 39 points.

Middlesbrough were promoted back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, but this would prove to be Pearson’s final season as a player. He retired at the end of the 1997-98 season, taking his first managerial post later that year. He became Carlisle manager on 17th December 1998, helping to keep the club in the football league. However, he left at the end of the season.

He joined Stoke City as a first-team coach, where he remained for two years. More than three years later, he became assistant manager at West Brom, working under Bryan Robson. When Robson was sacked in September 2006, Pearson took over as caretaker manager. He won three and drew one of his matches in charge but stepped down when Tony Mowbray took the job.

He left the club soon after, becoming assistant manager at Newcastle. Less than four months into his spell at Newcastle, he also became assistant coach to Stuart Pearce, the England U21 manager. When Glenn Roeder resigned as Newcastle manager in May 2007, Pearson took charge of the final game of the season. Sam Allardyce was appointed as manager soon after, but Pearson remained at the club. He enjoyed another spell as caretaker manager, before leaving in February 2008 to get his first taste of full-time management.

He became Southampton manager, where he remained for just three months, despite steering the club clear of relegation to League One. They stayed up on the final day, at the expense of Leicester City. However, when he was replaced at Southampton, Pearson took the Leicester job.

In what was his first full season in senior management, Leicester City were promoted back to the Championship at the first time of asking, winning the League One title. He enjoyed a successful season in their return to the second tier, finishing 5th. However, they were beaten in the play-off semi-final by Cardiff City.

Despite his successful two years, Pearson left the club to become Hull City manager in June 2010. Hull had just been relegated from the Premier League. They finished 11th in the 2010-11 season. Pearson opted to leave the club in November 2011, despite their strong position in the table. He returned to Leicester after being successfully persuaded by their new owners. They finished ninth in his first season back at the club.

In the 2012-13 season, Leicester finished 6th, meeting Watford in the play-off semi-finals. They won the first leg 1-0 but were famously beaten in dramatic fashion in the second leg. In the 97th minute, they received a penalty after Anthony Knockaert went down in the box. At the time, Leicester trailed 2-1 in the game but were level on aggregate. Knockaert not only missed the penalty, but his follow-up attempt was also saved by Manuel Almunia, leading to a Watford counterattack. Up stepped Watford captain Troy Deeney, who drilled the ball beyond Kasper Schmeichel to send Watford to the play-off final.

Despite the heartbreak, Leicester were convincingly promoted as champions the following season, picking up 102 points. In the following season, Pearson pulled off an incredible turnaround to keep Leicester in the Premier League. They were rock-bottom and looked almost certain to go down, but after winning eight and drawing one of their final ten games, they finished 14th with 41 points. However, Pearson left the club and was replaced by Claudio Ranieri, who would go on to pull off one of the biggest shocks in football history, guiding Leicester City to the Premier League title despite being 5000-1 outsiders.

Since leaving Leicester, Pearson briefly managed Derby County, but left by mutual consent after less than six months. He went on to manage OH Leuven in Belgium, taking the job in September 2017. He was sacked in February 2019.

After that, he remained out of management for around ten months, taking the Watford job in December 2019. He remained in charge until July 2020, when he was sacked with just two games remaining. Watford were three points clear of relegation when he was sacked but were ultimately relegated after losing their last two games.

On 22nd February 2021, Pearson took the Bristol City job on a short-term deal, before signing a three-year deal two months later.

Previous meetings with Bristol City

Since Swansea’s relegation in 2018, they have struggled against Bristol City. While under Graham Potter, they lost both fixtures in the 2018-19 season, before drawing at Ashton Gate early into Steve Cooper’s reign. On 18th July 2020, Cooper’s Swansea secured their first win over Bristol City since 2011, thanks to a Connor Roberts goal deep into first-half injury time.

24th October 2020

With both clubs enjoying a fine start to the season, Swansea travelled to Ashton Gate looking to secure back-to-back wins against Bristol City.

The Swans took the lead through Jamal Lowe, who struck home in the 51st minute. However, a contentious penalty saw Bristol City equalise with seven minutes to go. Nahki Wells was the scorer.

27th February 2021

The Swans welcomed Bristol City to the Liberty, looking to close the gap on the top two.

Things were looking promising after an hour, with Swansea leading through a 55th minute Andre Ayew penalty. However, goals from Nahki Wells, Kasey Palmer and a 97th minute Antoine Semenyo strike inflicted Swansea’s second home defeat of the season. This was Nigel Pearson’s first game in charge of the club, having watched from the stands as they beat Middlesbrough in their previous game.

Match Preview

After Tuesday’s defeat at home to Stoke, Swansea need to start winning games soon. They were outplayed for large parts of the Stoke game, and once again failed to create enough goal-scoring opportunities.

The only positives from the 3-1 defeat were the performances of Ethan Laird and Joel Piroe. Laird looked sharp after coming on for his debut as a substitute, while Piroe opened his league account with a consolation goal with a little over 15 minutes to go.

Meanwhile, Bristol City will be keen to win back-to-back games for the first time since February. The Swans will need to be weary of Andreas Weimann, who scored a brace in their 3-2 win over Reading on Tuesday.

Ex-Robin Jamie Paterson is likely to feature, although Liam Walsh and Korey Smith are both expected to miss out on the reunion. Meanwhile, Andy King is likely to start against the Swans.

This game should see Joel Piroe make his first league start, after being restricted to substitute appearances so far this season, while Ethan Laird may be preferred to Joel Latibeaudiere at right wing-back. Expect another tricky game, with Bristol City the favourites to win as it stands.


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Phil Sumblerhttp://www.planetswans.co.uk
Been watching the Swans since the very late 1970s and running the Planet Swans website (in all its current and previous guises since the summer of 2001 As it stood JackArmy.net was right at the forefront of some of the activity against Tony Petty back in 2001, breaking many of the stories of the day as fans stood against the actions where the local media failed. Was involved with the Swans Supporters Trust from 2005, for the large part as Chairman before standing down in the summer of 2020.

Swansea City v Hull City, EFL Championship



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