Bristol City boss Championship prediction for Leeds Utd, Leicester City, Sheff Wed and Ipswich Town

Bristol City already have two new signings through the door - despite the transfer window not yet being open.
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Nigel Pearson hopes the arrivals of Rob Dickie and Ross McCrorie should provide optimism to everyone at Bristol City ahead of a ‘very competitive’ Championship season.

The Robins are doing their transfer business early, as they hope to get ahead of the opposition, in what is to be a tricky division next season. Rob Dickie and Ross McCrorie were announced earlier this week, and both have been bought for transfer fees, which is a sign of the club’s ambitions for this season.

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Last summer’s transfer business consisted of free transfers, but with Antoine Semenyo’s sale to Bournemouth in January, Bristol City are continuing to reinvest that in to the playing squad. The transfer window does not officially open until Wednesday, June 14, but they will at least have two new faces in for the first day of pre-season.

“It was always our intention to try and do some business as soon as we could,” said Pearson in an interview with the club.

“I suppose as much as anything because it gives us the opportunity to shape the squad that we want to.

“I think it gives people confidence, it gives the players who are already in the building a shot in the arm to see we are trying to strengthen the squad.

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“I think for our fan base, it’ll give them some encouragement that we are hopefully we are trying to add the right types of players to the squad.”

“They are both good ages. They are both players who have done extremely well so far in their careers. They have the scope to improve and push on themselves.”

“It’s really good for us. I think it’s important to have good competition within the squad. We’ve been aware of where we want to strengthen. It won’t be just we’ve made two signings we’re happy with that.

“We’ll see within the parameters we’re working within how we can invest further. It’s not a case of do early business and that’s it.”

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The arrival of Dickie and McCrorie will add some much-needed depth to the squad, as well as some added quality, which could narrow the gap on the clubs above them. Dickie joining means more defensive options, as Tomas Kalas continues to mull over his contract offer. McCrorie meanwhile has sacrificed European football with Aberdeen to be at the club, and his versatility will no doubt help the team, should he stay fit.

More transfers are expected this summer, with Haydon Roberts reportedly holding talks with Nigel Pearson earlier this week after his release from Brighton. Despite a series of new signings, City are keen to remain loyal to continue the progress of the homegrown talent which has served them well during their transitional period.

Max O’Leary, Cam Pring, Sam Bell and Zak Vyner have all come through the academy set-up and become certified first-team players, and have now all had good exposure to the Championship. Alex Scott - who joined as a 16-year-old from Guernsey, and had a brief spell in the Under-21’s squad, is entering his third season, and is no longer the leagues best kept secret.

He said: “I think for us it’s about trying to get the balance right between promoting young homegrown players and also making sure we have players within the squad with know-how as well who can enable the side to make further progression.

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“We really want to be pushing right into the top-half over the next season.”

Each Championship season is described as one of the most competitive, but with Leeds United, Southampton and Pearson’s former club Leicester City coming down, it’s going to be difficult to get out of the division. Ipswich Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Plymouth Argyle have all come up

Attempting to predict the Championship next season, he said: “It’ll be a tough league because teams coming down from the Premier League are strong, the teams who have come up from League One are strong.

“It’s going to be very competitive. We know ourselves the second-half of the season in particular we really made quite an important progression ourselves. It’s something for us to be positive about but we always want to invest our money where we get value for money.”

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