Cottagers Confidential: Bristol City are tied for the fewest wins in the league, and are only two points out of the relegation zone. How much faith do you have that they'll stay up this year?
The Exiled Robin: I still remain confident, strangely. The general feeling is we’ve got a good enough side and squad to sit comfortably in mid-table, and that’s not just from our own fans. Something needs to be changed to make that work, however. Many believe that’s the manager and therefore the tactics, others will say it simply requires a change of fortune. No-one’s thrashing us, no-one’s playing us out of games and in almost every single defeat we’ve had a genuine chance to take one, if not all three points well into the second half. Only once all season have we been defeated by more than a single goal, which tells a myriad stories.
CC: While you do have a negative goal differential, it's not as bad as many of the teams around you. Is Bristol City a team that is better than their record who has just got unlucky? What's gone wrong for the team this year? Has anything gone right?
TEB: Yes absolutely, as indicated above, we’re clearly not a million miles away from most other teams in this division on a game-by-game basis, unfortunately we’ve got ourselves on a dreadful run and confidence has taken a battering. We’ve thrown away two or three goal leads three times already in 2017, which tells you everything you need to know about our defensive frailties, our lack of organisation, the extreme lack of confidence, perhaps fitness, but also our ability to have got well ahead in those games, against decent, top half teams, which are the green shoots we are all hanging on to!
CC: If you were the manager, how would you set up Bristol City to play against a team like Fulham who will want to keep the ball for most of the game?
TEB: Well, having beaten you 4-0 at Craven Cottage earlier in the season, and again in the league cup, we obviously had a formula that worked then and I’m sure we’re looking to repeat. You’ve obviously improved since then and do retain the ball well, but having watched some of your games, including Sunday, I’d say you’re still susceptible to pace down the flanks getting in behind your full-backs, and that’s something we exploited back in September. Tammy Abraham has been ruled out with injury, which should mean a start for new signing Matty Taylor who’ll buzz in and around the defence all afternoon, and hopefully pressure them into making a mistake.
TEB: I haven’t predicted a City win for weeks and weeks but I’m going to stick my neck on the line and say we’ll win 2-1. We’ll never keep a clean sheet, but hopefully we can take the confidence from our previous wins against you to eke out a desperately needed three points.