Bristol City boss reveals approach ahead of Severnside derby with Cardiff City

The Robins make their shortest trip of the year - across the Severn Bridge to face Cardiff City

Nigel Pearson’s job isn’t to keep people happy. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)Nigel Pearson’s job isn’t to keep people happy. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)
Nigel Pearson’s job isn’t to keep people happy. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

Nigel Pearson has made an alteration in his approach to Bristol City’s Severnside Derby clash with Cardiff City this weekend.

The Robins travel to South Wales for a Saturday lunch-time kick-off, in search of a league double, which would replicate the feat they achieved last year. Under Pearson’s watch, City have yet to lose to the Welsh outfit, and have avoided losing any players to disciplinary issues during the match.

This is the first of two double-game weeks for Pearson’s men, who played Manchester City in the FA Cup this week. City’s players put in a respectable performance against Pep Guardiola’s team of superstars, and fitness levels had to be at their highest to deal with the Premier League champions’ style of play.

Cardiff pose a different challenge, but with a rearranged match against Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night, as well as another early kick off against Blackpool next Saturday, the small squad will have to be closely monitored, and there is a hope that no other serious injuries will affect their team.

Approaching the match with Cardiff, the City boss revealed that in the final training session before a match, he’d instruct players of the team for the next day, but instead he opened up one final opportunity for players to force his way into his starting plans.

He said: “Normally I’d select the side before we go out and train, or name the side rather, but we wanted to have another look at them this morning.

“The players know what the starting 11 is now and I just think it’s really important that whatever the selection that the bench is vital and we have certainly more attacking options than we have defensive options but I also think it’s the forward line that has to be at their freshest because they are the trigger for the whole team.”

“We play well when the forward line is playing effectively, showing the ability when we have the ball to hurt our opponents so there’s a lot of emphasis on the fitness levels and the ability to reproduce those high intensity movements that we try and create.

“Those are the main factors but the good thing is that we do have lots of options, in the Sunderland game we made three changes at the same time so we have the benefit of being able to use as many subs as possible at the moment.”

Anis Mehmeti and Harry Cornick will be available for selection after they missed out the glamour cup tie with Man City because they were cup tied. Mehmeti had to wait for his first star but has since been one of the first names on the team sheet, whilst Cornick has had a mix of both starts and substitute appearances.

City operate with a small squad, but the former Leicester City boss is not one for wholesale changes unless it is enforced as a result of injuries and suspensions. As a result, the manager has picked up that some players have been frustrated with their lack of playing time or first-team opportunities.

Pearson did not name any players, but despite being named captain last month, Andi Weimann has had to settle for a place amongst the substitutes, whilst Kane Wilson was only named amongst the substitutes on Tuesday. Jay Dasilva is another player that has seen his playing time reduced in recent months, but the form of the side has meant that there hasn’t been room to freshen up the side too much.

He said: “We do have some frustrated players, because they’re either not starting or awaiting their chance but I just think it’s something that players have to deal with.

“I suppose when they do get the chance it’s even more important that they take it so it’s hard to keep everybody happy but it’s not my job to keep people happy. We go into this game knowing we’ll need a strong performance.”