Bristol City will be looking to get back to winning ways in the Sky Bet Championship after their recent draw away to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. The Robins have had a decent season but will be aiming to move as high as they can in the table to pile on pressure on the teams above before the season is done and dusted. Bristol City could go as high as 10th if results go in their favour on the weekend, with an important three points on the line once again in the second tier. Nigel Pearson's men are well aware that their last home win came in late January against Huddersfield Town.
Rotherham United on the other hand will be playing for a massive three points in a bid to escape from the drop zone, finding themselves in 22nd place not far off 21st-placed Birmingham City. Winning recently against Sheffield Wednesday gave the team a much needed boost. Hope within the ranks was restored which might encourage the belief within the squad come the weekend.
The only team likely to get out of trouble, the Millers desperately need a result to take into their upcoming games against Millwall, Wednesday and the Terriers, with an advantage of four games in hand over the Blues at this stage.
Boss Paul Warne has been self isolating and will be absent again for the trip to Ashton Gate. The hosts currently have various players sidelined through injury problems. Jay Da Silva has a shin injury and Tommy Rowe picked up a recent knee knock. Alfie Mawson has an anterior cruciate ligament injury with Andreas Weismann suffering the same fate and Chris Martin another casualty on the injury list with a hamstring injury.
Bristol City 'keeper Dan Bentley missed Wednesday's draw against Blackburn with illness but will be considered to return on Saturday. Nathan Baker is edging ever closer to a first appearance of the season after coming down with a hamstring injury six months ago but may be saved until after the international break, particularly with the Robins keeping two successive clean sheets with the same back four. Zak Vyner and Adam Nagy have both recovered from their head injuries and could be available for selection.
Warne has spoken regarding the two week international break following this match up, making sure in the process all key individuals will be used in the fight to stay in the division. Ben Wiles picked up a hamstring strain in the defeat to Watford, but Warne is hopeful the midfielder will be fit in time for the trip to Ashton Gate.
Jamie Lindsay, Chiedozie Ogbene and Clark Robertson are expected back in training next week so should be available after the International break. Robertson has a hamstring problem, Joe Mattock is out of contention with an ankle injury. Michael Smith's red card against Wednesday was successfully overturned and he should be available for selection.
Bristol City: (4-2-3-1): Bentley; Sessengnon, Kalas, Mariappa, Hunt, Bakinson, Massengo, O'Dowda, Wells, Semenyo, Diedhiou.
Rotherham United (5-3-2): Johansson; Wood, MacDonald, Ihekwe, Olusunde, Barlaser, MacDonald, Wiles, Harding, Crooks, Ladapo.
A 0-0 stalemate against Blackburn on Wednesday night, which Nigel Pearson referred to as a "dogged performance," was a second successive clean sheet, the first time they have achieved that feat since November. Although it was City's first draw in four months and only their fourth game this season to end level. No side in the Championship has picked up fewer draws, although Rotherham have only had five, suggesting that it is unlikely that this game will finish all square. It is now three wins, one draw and two defeats for Pearson, giving him a tally of 10 points, which only four sides have beaten since he took charge.
Rotherham have been in poor form and have lost six of their last seven league games, but have been promising away from home, winning four of their last six games on the road. Coming into this one Rotherham have won nine games all season, drawing five and losing 19. Their losses all season have played a factor in where they currently are in the table. The Millers may have been out of trouble by now if they had capitalised on the five draws, turning them into wins.
City ended 2018 on a high with Adam Webster's late header capping off an attacking display to secure the 1-0 victory against the Millers. The Millers went down to nine men in the second half with two yellow cards for Billy Jones and a straight red for Ritchie Towell, as City sent forward wave after wave of attacks at Ashton Gate. It could have been a major score line if the home side had been clinical on the day but Webster's late header was his first for his club, sending City into 2019 with a welcome three points The win extended the Robins unbeaten run to seven games and lifted City to 11th in the Championship. Rotherham were poor all game with very chances of their own, City dominating right till the end.
Ones to watch
Nakhi Wells, Henri Lansbury and Nathan Baker are all solid Championship players. They all have a wealth of experience at the highest level. Lansbury a player bought in from Aston Villa, is a versatile player in the centre of midfield, always shifting the ball very nicely across the park when called upon.
Rotherham have players of their own potential too, Giles on loan from his parent club Wolverhampton Wanderers, aswell as Daniel Barlaser who completed a permanent move on a three-year deal in October 2020 from Newcastle United. Viktor Johansson in goal is a keeper with a great deal of potential for the Millers looking to prove himself when given a place in the starting line up.
How to watch
The clash kicks off at 15.00 (GMT) and will be broadcasted live on Bristol City and Rotherham United iFollow in the UK.
What Nigel Pearson said pre-match
Pearson spoke to club media. When asked about the challenge of Rotherham. He said:
"They've got a number of games to catch up. It's very difficult to fall behind in fixtures to have key members of the squad missing, both in terms of coaching and playing staff it does compound the challenge of avoiding relegation, course it does. But they will be a very hard working side and very committed, so we expect for it to be a tough game. Its expected to be a game which doesn't present the problems the others do. Its a really tough fixture for us, I'm sure they will come to our place with the intention to make it difficult for us."