Two teams with high hopes of promotion to the top-flight will go head-to-head in the Championship on Saturday afternoon, as Bristol City host Norwich City.
Ahead of the game, both sides sit on the same number of points, but the Robins lie just inside the play-off places ahead of the Canaries as they have a slightly better goal difference.
It was revealed on Wednesday morning that Bristol City are set to be without experienced midfielder Andreas Weimann for up to nine months, as the Austrian recently suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Additionally, Alfie Mawson will be unavailable for the foreseeable future after undergoing surgery on his knee. Fellow Fulham loanee Steven Sessegnon is also ruled out due to a problem with his hamstring.
Norwich will be without left-back Xavi Quintilla for their trip to the South West after the Spaniard picked up an injury whilst warming up before Tuesday’s match with Brentford. Centre-back Christoph Zimmermann will also miss out, although he should not be too far away from a return after resuming team training earlier this week.
Young attacker Josh Martin is not available to face the Robins due to a slight knock, while Adam Idah will serve the second game of a three-match suspension after being sent off against Wycombe Wanderers.
Bristol City: Bentley; Vyner, Kalas, Moore; Hunt, Paterson, Bakinson, O’Dowda, Rowe; Diedhiou, Wells.
Norwich: Krul; Mumba, Hanley, Gibson, Aarons; Skipp, Rupp; Buendia, Vrancic, Cantwell; Pukki.
After beating Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on October 3, Bristol City sat at the top of the division with maximum points from their opening four games. However, their slump in form since then has seen them slip down to sixth position.
The Robins have failed to win any of their last four matches, with their two defeats during that spell both ending 1-0 to their opponents. On Wednesday they held Bournemouth for long periods, before Arnaut Danjuma netted nine minutes from time to seal the victory for the Cherries.
On the other hand, Norwich have produced some excellent results since the most recent international break. They won three games in a row against Rotherham United, Birmingham City and Wycombe, with goals scored beyond the 85th minute in each encounter.
Then, the Canaries came up with another late show on Tuesday evening, as Kenny McLean’s fortunate deflected effort earned them a point at Brentford.
Ones to watch
Bristol City’s strong start to the new campaign has been particularly impressive due to the fact that they were without Callum O’Dowda for the opening month.
The Republic of Ireland international did not feature in any of the Robins’ first four league matches due to a groin injury, but he completed his first full 90 minutes of the season at Bournemouth in midweek.
When fit and firing, O’Dowda is capable of causing some serious problems for opposition defences, and having scored twice against Norwich in the past, he will be itching to impress again on Saturday.
Many supporters of the Canaries were fearful that Max Aarons would leave the club in the summer, with interest from Barcelona widely reported, but no move away from Norfolk took place in the end.
The young right-back won the EFL Young Player of the Year award back in April 2019, and he has shown signs of the form which saw him receive that accolade so far this term, with one assist already recorded.
When Norwich visit the South West to take on the Robins, there is a chance that Aarons will start at left-back to fill in for the injured Quintilla, which could be an interesting scenario to watch unfold.
This weekend, Bristol City will be aiming to secure their first victory over the Canaries since February 2009. In the Robins’ team for their 2-1 victory at Carrow Road over 11 years ago was Lee Johnson, who was sacked as the club’s head coach in July of this year.
These two sides last faced each other during the 2018/19 season, when Norwich collected four points from the pair of matches played. Aarons scored with a header at Ashton Gate to earn the Canaries a draw, while McLean bagged a brace in East Anglia two months later which contributed to a 3-2 win over Johnson’s side.
How to watch
This match will kick off at 12:30pm on Saturday October 31 and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football.
What the managers have said
Speaking ahead of the game, Bristol City boss Dean Holden discussed the strengths he believes the Canaries have but insisted that the Robins will be focusing on themselves.
“They’re an excellent team - they’ve been together a long time,” he said. “They’ve got quality right across their team and particularly in those forward areas.
“They’re a team that like to have the ball and like to pass through the lines and occupy positions on the pitch that can give you a problem. We’ve been through that with the players this morning and like in any game, I say it every single time, the main focus is on our performance.
“We’ve had two good performances since the poor one against Middlesbrough and again we look to push on tomorrow and look to improve. To keep improving.”
Meanwhile, Norwich head coach Daniel Farke revealed that he has been happy with the work of centre-backs Ben Gibson and Grant Hanley so far this season, despite the fact that they have kept only one clean sheet.
He stated: “All in all, I'm pleased with Ben and Grant. Our conceded goal average is under one. Obviously, I would love a clean sheet every game.
“But it's not easy for them. They were out for a long time and their rhythm has been interrupted. When I judge their performances, they've done really well.”