Bristol City v Swansea City preview: derby day
promotion clash promises drama
Andreas Weimann took on Jay Fulton when these sides met last season, will their be a different outcome this time around?
Athena Pictures - Getty Images

With almost all the unbeaten starts to the season now over in the EFL Championship, it is time to find out who is in it for the long run, and who is just a flash in the pan.

This Saturday presents a game involving two sides fighting at the upper reaches of the table, after impressive starts to the season.

They may be separated by 80 miles, but there is a distinct rivalry between Bristol City and their Welsh counterpart Swansea City. And their positions in the table will only increase the tension heading into this fascinating tie.

Story behind the game

Lee Johnson's City side go into the game on a six match unbeaten run in the league. Having most recently come from behind to win away at struggling Stoke City. However their one defeat did come at Ashton Gate against a promotion rival, losing on the opening day to Leeds United.

Whereas Swansea boss Steve Cooper will be looking to pick his side up after they suffered their first loss of the season last weekend, being edged out 1-0 by Nottingham Forest. They are yet to lose away from home however, so will be hoping to keep that up on Saturday.

When these sides met in the league last season, City were victorious on both occasions. Winning 2-0 at home in February, having earlier won 1-0 at the Liberty Stadium. So the Swans will be looking for their first win over their opponents since 2011, when they won 2-0 in Bristol, on their way to promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs.

A win for either side on Saturday will be a huge boost to their promotion aspirations, showing that they do mean business this season.

Embed from Getty Images

Team news

Robins manager Johnson will be without striker Benik Afobe, who has suffered a serious knee injury, and could miss the rest of the season. Defender Tomas Kalas will also be out for a while longer, as he needs another scan. Furthermore, both Bailey Wright and Adam Nagy are doubts, but do have a chance of featuring.

In the other camp, Swans boss Cooper has insisted that they are being patient over the recovery of injured forward Aldo Kalulu, who is due to be out for another month. He is expected to be their only absentee ahead of the weekend.

Predicted Line-up

Bristol City:

(4-3-3) Bentley, Moore, Williams, Baker, Hunt, Brownhill, Massengo, Rowe, Eliasson, Weimann, Diedhiou

Swansea City:

(4-2-3-1) Woodman, Naughton, van der Hoorn, Rodon, Bidwell, Fulton, Grimes, Ayew, Celina, Routledge, Baston

Key Clashes

Ashley Williams v Borja Baston

Centre-back Ashley Williams will be making his first appearance at Ashton Gate since joining the Robins last month. And it will be quite a special occasion for him, having spent eight years at Swansea. He is now tasked with keeping his former club at bay, particularly their in-form striker Borja Baston, who so far has five goals and one assist this season. Baston will be looking to add to his tally against the worst defence in the top six.

Han-Noah Massengo v Matt Grimes

In terms of midfield battles, one to especially look for is the one involving the home side's talented youngster Han-Noah Massengo. The Frenchman, who joined from AS Monaco in the summer, has started the last four games for the club. Despite being just 18-years-old, he may prove to be a tough test for Swansea captain Matt Grimes. The Exeter City academy graduate fully broke into the team following their relegation from the top flight, and has gone from strength to strength since then.

Embed from Getty Images

What the managers have said

Lee Johnson spoke to the local media, and used it to praise the opposition manager, as well as the route he's taken to get into management. He said:

“They've been excellent. I've known Coops for quite a while since we were on a leadership course together, a few years back, and he's making us all look like fools, isn't he?

“He's gone down a slightly different route by going through the FA and found himself, having got a fantastic job, and it's a shrewd appointment by the Swansea board.”

Meanwhile the man in question, Cooper, has emphasised to the club's media that he wants full focus on solely the game ahead, despite the position they find themselves in. He said:

“We're not looking past the weekend, we've got Bristol City, who are in good form. So we're only looking as far as that.

“They're scoring goals, and they have a lot of exciting players. But I think everyone does in the league, which is why results can be a little bit surprising at times.”