Bristol City midfielder sends out strong message to Reading and the Championship

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The recent Robins captain wants City to get back to a consistent run of form

Matty James believes the hunt for promotion from the EFL Championship ‘is anyone’s game’ this season, as just six points separate the top 12 after 16 games.

Bristol City have picked up 21 points so far and sit 12th, while league leaders Queens Park Rangers lead the way on 27 points.

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A stat that sums up the chaotic opening third to the season, is that second placed Blackburn Rovers have lost two more games than Coventry City, who sit in the relegation zone in 23rd position.

When asked whether he had seen a season start as openly as this, James replied: “Certainly not, we’ve just been speaking about that in there (the canteen) then. It’s a bit crazy really, you look at the results and it’s just like, that’s a shock. I think in a couple of weeks time it’ll just become more of a norm.”

The Robins began the campaign strongly and went eight games unbeaten in all competitions between mid-August and September. However, Nigel Pearson’s side have gone through a sticky spell of late, and have suffered five defeats in their last eight.

James, though, is confident that the Robins can make a big push for their goal of a play-off place: “I think the key thing for us is if we can gain a little bit of consistency I think you’ll see big strides in the league.

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“Hopefully we’ll remain in and around certain areas that mean you don’t drop too far if you do have a little bit of a bad spell, so that’s the aim for us, consistency is probably the key thing.”

Often in the Championship, the teams that come down from the Premier League can be a class above their opposition. In recent seasons, teams like Fulham, Bournemouth and Norwich City have been dubbed ‘yo-yo clubs’ for their tendency to drift between the two top leagues in England.

So far this season though, the sides relegated from the topflight last campaign have yet to pull away from the rest; Burnley sit in third, Norwich in sixth and Watford are in 15th. “With respect to the clubs that have come down this year, they probably haven’t had the same impact as what certainly Fulham and Bournemouth had last year,” James said.

“The four games we played against them, two each, it was big dominance from both teams and we kind of knew that, we played Bournemouth at home here and you come off the pitch going we couldn’t really get near them today, they were a level above what’s in the Championship.

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“With respect to the clubs that have come down so far, I think we’ve competed and other teams have also caused big upsets at their place and at home and things like that, so I’d probably say from the outside that it’s anyone’s game at the minute.”

City’s recent form reads win, loss, win, loss, draw, which is the lack of consistency that could prevent them from challenging at the right end of the table come April.The busy nature of the 46-game season makes it extremely difficult to find consistent results and performances, with teams playing two games a week seemingly every week.

“I think that you just need to realise that the Championship is relentless and consistency is something that everyone is looking for,” James continued. “Certainly it’s what we are (looking for) as well and if you can find it I’m guessing you will start to make big strides up the league.

“For us it’s just trying to be consistent in our own performances so that they dont drop too much and then we can win a game possibly in an ugly way, that’s obviously something that we are trying to find at the moment.”

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