An in-depth look at Town's next Sky Bet Championship opponents
- Huddersfield Town vs Bristol City
- Saturday 9 December 2023, 3pm kick-off
- Full preview of what to expect from the Robins
It’s now nine straight season’s in the Sky Bet Championship for Bristol City since being promoted at the end of the 2014/15 campaign, with the Robins not having featured in the top tier of English football since being relegated at the end of the 1979/80 season.
First crossing paths with Town on 2 December 1911, the two sides have met 65 times since with the Terriers winning 28, City 25 and 12 ending in draws. Even in our last five fixtures, too, both sides have won twice and shared one draw, which was the last meeting at the John Smith’s Stadium in March that ended goalless.
Making the decision to part way with Nigel Pearson after 14 games of the season, Bristol City were in 15th place at the time of his dismissal, having won five, drawn three and lost six. Winning at home against Sheffield Wednesday under their interim Head Coach, they made the permanent appointment of Liam Manning on 7 November.
Having allowed 15 players to go in the summer - including Alex Scott for a reported £25 million fee - they have signed just six to replace them, with five signing permanently and one arriving on loan. Sat in 14th place in the Sky Bet Championship, they are seven places and five points above Town, and still only five points off the Play-Off places in the other direction.
Having had one season as a professional player with Ipswich Town after leaving the Norwich City academy, Manning’s playing days were mainly within non-league football, with one stint playing in Iceland within that time.
Beginning his coaching career young, Manning worked within the Ipswich Town academy before moving to Premier League side West Ham United to lead their U23 team, leaving after four years to join the City Football Group in an initial academy director capacity, before taking charge of Lommel SK in Belgium.
Moving back to England, spells with Milton Keynes and Oxford United followed, and Manning’s high possession, high pressing style began to create a name for him, with him still a couple of years shy of his 40th birthday.
Departing his role at Oxford United with the side second in Sky Bet League One, he made the move to Bristol City and the Sky Bet Championship shortly after.
LAST TIME OUT
Having hit the lead shortly after the half hour mark at home, it was a second half to forget with Norwich City hitting back twice to come from behind and win. Pegged back through an own goal on the hour, the home fans left disappointed after their visitors snatched all three points at the death, scoring in the fifth minute of added time at the end of regulation.
Previous Starting XI: O’Leary; Veneer, Dickie, Pring; Tanner, James, Gardner-Hickman, Sykes; Weimann, Conway, Knight (3-4-3)
Having initially given his side some continuity within their 4-2-3-1 shape in his first two games in charge, Manning then made the switch to a back three, having his side line up in a 3-4-2-1 and 3-4-3 in their last two outings.
Tactically fluid, Manning switched between three and four man defences with Oxford United in his previous role, but opted for a 4-2-3-1 on more occasions that not. Still feeling out his new side and what works best for them, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bristol City make adjustments in game defending on the score, switching between shapes after making substitutions.
WHO TO WATCH
27-year-old goalkeeper O’Leary has had to remain patient for his chance between the sticks for Bristol City, having spent time out on loan with Kidderminster, Bath City, Solihull Moors and Shrewsbury on his way into the City first team from the academy. Having played every minute possible in the Sky Bet Championship this season, O’Leary is staking his claim to be their long-term number one, so will be motivated to perform to the best of his abilities, especially under new management.
Another graduate of the Bristol City academy, 21-year-old Bell has hit the ground running in the Sky Bet Championship after spending a short period out on loan with Grimsby Town last season. Having scored four times already this campaign, Bell has appeared in every league game for his team, usually operating from the left wing. Also able to plenty centrally or from the right when required, his last goal came over 10 games ago in September against Stoke City.
Signed from Luton Town in January 2023, pacey forward Cornick is one of Bristol City’s go-to impact substitutions, having only started 20% of their league games to date, but appearing in each fixture regardless. With one goal in 19 at present, he looks to stretch the game and get in behind tired defences, which Town will do well to be wary of whether he’s in from the start or from the bench. Able to play anywhere across the front three, that’s the fluidity that Manning likes from his forward players.
TOWN TEAM NEWS
Town boss Darren Moore is yet to face the press this week, speaking to the media at the Millers Oils High Performance Complex tomorrow afternoon, Friday 8 December 2023.
Supporters will be able to watch the conference live on HTTV to hear all of the latest team news as it’s shared.
Back home, it’s blue and white for the Terriers on Saturday afternoon as always.
Having recently been restocked in all sizes, supporters still have plenty of time to get theirs before Christmas, with our Club Shop open each day in the run up to 25 December!
CLICK HERE to browse online.
You can still join us at the John Smith’s Stadium by CLICKING HERE!
Come down to HD1 on Saturday afternoon and enjoy the pre-game Fan Zone and Christmas entertainment before heading inside for the game.
Due to the traditional Saturday 3pm kick-off time, video match passes for this fixture will not be available in the United Kingdom, but will be purchasable abroad.
Supporters who still want to follow every second of the game can purchase an audio match pass and not miss a second of the game!
CLICK HERE to find out more.