Bristol City influential figure sends warning to Queens Park Rangers and the Championship

Ever-present in the Championship Rob Atkinson talks his personal programme to be fighting fit for Bristol City.

Rob Atkinson wants teams to ‘dread’ coming to Ashton Gate as Bristol City prepare to host Queens Park Rangers in the EFL Championship.

It has been almost a month since the Robins last played a home fixture, which was a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town on the final day of August.

A fixture against Preston North End had been scheduled but the passing of Queen Elizabeth, coupled with two back-to-back away matches at promotion-chasing Norwich City and Burnley, have made it a long absence from BS3.

City have only lost once at home this season which was to Sunderland, whilst winning all of their other matches at their home ground, which is a stark contrast to last season.

As City approach the next period of fixtures which is 12 matches over an eight-week period until the World Cup, of which a majority at home, there is a desire to make the Gate a tricky place for the opposition.

"We’ve done well at home this season, the fact we’re playing seven at home is a real boost," he said in the pre-match press conference ahead of the visit of the Hoops.

"Hopefully, we can kick on, we’ve set the foundation for a good start. We’re going to take it game-by-game and try to pick up as many points as possible.

"Seven home games against teams but we want to pick up as many points from the next fixtures. It seems a long time now that we were struggling for that first home win in god knows how long.

"We’ve turned a page. I’m not gonna say we’ve turned it into a fortress but we’re getting there. Hopefully soon people will be dreading coming to Ashton Gate."

Several players were called up for international duty with most coming through unscathed. Antoine Semenyo played back-to-back games for Ghana, whilst Alex Scott had more trophy joy, this time with England’s Under-20s, winning out in Spain.

Andi Weimann meanwhile played against France in the UEFA Nations League but was substituted early in the second half, before being an unused substitute against Croatia.

As for the players that didn’t head off to represent their countries, they were afforded rests to allow them to recover ahead of a busy period.

"The gaffer was nice to us and we got plenty of time off," revealed Atkinson. We went away and went on our own holidays.

“I’m sure everyone is well rested as I am and we’re ready to go into the next batch of fixtures.”

The 24-year-old is in to his second season with City after joining for an undisclosed fee from League One outfit Oxford United, and has cemented himself as a regular in the side.

He has played in all but one of City’s fixtures this season, where he was afforded a rest against Wycombe Wanderers.

Atkinson has played regularly alongside Kal Naismith and the revitalised Zak Vyner, registering three clean sheets this season.

He was thrown in last season for his spell in the Championship but the side struggled at times for consistency.

Atkinson went through a period of two months with absence, owing to an injury but having pushed himself hard in the off-season, he has put himself in a place to play regularly without any issues.

“The first season in the Championship was going to be hard,” the former Oxford defender said.

I’ve got that out of the way. I’ve played quite a few games and I’ve learned at stadiums you go at the sort of tempo, speed of the game, people you play against, and even your teammates.

“It’s good to get that season done, it’s really helped my experience and it’s shown in my form and I’d like to keep going.

Asked whether he is fitter than he was when he was beginning out at City, he said: “Yes, and that is a credit to everyone behind the scenes in the gym and the physios.

“Dave Rennie has been excellent, I’ve worked hard in the off-season and it’s the hardest I have ever worked in order to get to a stage where I am fit.

“I feel like that isn’t hindering me anymore. I had a tough period last year, I was finding it really hard, but it feels like a long time ago now.”