24 September ~ There are many similarities in the public perceptions of Bristol City and Hull City. Both clubs are viewed as perennial underachievers, seemingly based upon the population size of each city and their respective catchment areas rather than the actual strengths of their playing squads. Three seasons ago Hull beat Bristol City in the play-off final to reach the top flight for the first time in their history. The score that day was 1-0, a scoreline repeated in six of Hull's seven League fixtures this season. Meanwhile, Bristol City have failed to score in all four home games this season – so a narrow away victory heaping more early-season misery upon Keith Millen's side seems likely.
That day at Wembley was about as good as it has got for Bristol City in the last 30 years, although in truth they never looked like scoring that afternoon. This is a habit they have persisted with this season, despite having a much sought-after finisher in Nicky Maynard.
Millen's new-found preference for starting games with one striker on the pitch while having two sat next to him in the dug out is baffling many supporters, especially during home fixtures. It's not as though the five-man midfield appears very adept at either protecting the back four, or supporting the lone striker. The players look happier in a traditional 4-4-2 and the suspicion remains that, like most English sides, anything else confuses the issue unnecessarily.
Millen was installed on a three-year contract, a bit of a gamble for someone with no previous managerial experience at a time when the club appeared to favour rolling 12-month contracts, so it seems unlikely that the board will sack him even if the poor start to the season continues. With the club making huge annual losses and uncertainty remaining over the proposed new stadium, financially and otherwise, the club has to stick with they already have.
What many supporters would like to still have is Hull's goalkeeper Adriano Basso, forced out of Ashton Gate after a personality clash with then manager Gary Johnson. Basso is showing his ability at this level with three clean sheets so far this season. He is the "good" in the good, bad and ugly trio of ex-Bristol City players in the Hull squad. Liam Rosenior didn't handle his exit strategy very well and will be an unpopular returnee, while Dele Adebola could still be a handful if he comes off of the bench. As the game will probably settled by a single goal, it would be a good time to break our duck while there are still some leaves on the trees. Mo Davies