Friday, 19 September 2014
The Inside Line: Fleetwood Town v Bristol City (20/09/2014)
And so it goes on. This stunning unbeaten run; no team in league one has scored more, no side has conceded fewer (Saturday’s opponents Fleetwood have an equally good defensive record), no other team in the league has 20 points already – its remarkable and for long-suffering City fans a true moment to savour!
It will of course all end at some point, perhaps on Saturday, perhaps a month or more from now, but let’s enjoy it whilst it lasts.
Ahead of the trip to the North West coast, Stu Radnedge takes a look at City’s stunning start to the season and adds a sprinkle of caution.
“Bristol City face another side on Saturday who earned promotion last year from League Two – Fleetwood Town.
Known as The Fishermen, the history behind the club is something which could easily be regarded as folklore – six promotions in the last 10 years have seen the club go from the depths of the non-league pyramid to attaining Football League status, and then up again to the “history making” status of League One football after winning the League Two play-off finals last year.
Romanticism aside (as great as it is to talk about the success of a club who have progressed from nowhere to League status) City will, no doubt, fancy their chances. The well circulated statistics of our season so far say it all – most goals scored, fewest conceded and a double figure positive goal difference for the first time since the end of the 2006/07 season – the one when we got promoted from this league.
But, for me, it’s the stats that aren’t being circulated that matter the most. There have been four clean sheets (in eight games) already this year, with three in-a-row at the moment. Goals are coming from, what feels like, everywhere. Aden Flint, even though not our captain, is leading the defence and developing them into a much more solid unit and he’s also posing a threat at the other end of the pitch. Seven goals in eight games from Aaron Wilbraham is a solid return – if we feared we were losing a 20+ goal machine in the sale of Sam Baldock, we may already have his replacement.
Eight games into a season is a one-sixth of the way into the season. Statisticians would say, by law of averages and form, City will gain promotion at a canter.
But I’m taking a more pragmatic approach. Yes, Wolves ran away with it last year. Yes Arsenal’s unbeatables did it – so why can’t we? I like the optimism, I really do.
However, that time-old inner battle is taking place as my heart is saying we will but my brain is saying it won’t happen.
And the only thing that will stop us achieving is a lack of belief and confidence in our ability… which certainly isn’t the issue at the moment. The squad, not the team, has clearly bonded – with goal celebrations being as entertaining as the football!
Back to our opposition, Fleetwood began League One life in a very promising way. Top after three games, the wheels appeared to have come off a little with three losses in a row (Morecambe in the Football League Trophy, Oldham and Crawley). But a no-score draw at home on Wednesday with free scoring (of late) Barnsley could indicate the style of play City will have to endure on Saturday – a team aiming not to concede. We faced it against Scunthorpe and could face it again this weekend?
My thanks to Stu, it’s a tough challenge on Saturday that’s for sure, despite Fleetwood’s more recent form. I can see a tight game and it may just take s stroke of luck to find a winner – fingers crossed it falls our way.
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