Bristol City’s predicted starting XI versus Derby County - who replaces Nathan Baker?

There’s a talented player in Han-Noah Massengo but he needs to start influencing games. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)There’s a talented player in Han-Noah Massengo but he needs to start influencing games. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
There’s a talented player in Han-Noah Massengo but he needs to start influencing games. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images) | Getty Images
BristolWorld’s Jordan Jones guesses how City may line up against Derby County tomorrow

Bristol City entertain bottom club Derby County to Ashton Gate on Saturday as they look to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat.

The Robins suffered a 2-0 defeat to Sheffield United which made it four consecutive defeats on the road.

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At the start of the season much was made about the home form, given fans hadn’t seen many wins since the return of spectators.

Saturday’s game given the position of the two teams should be a forgone conclusion but the Rams have been competitive despite their off-the-field troubles.

Given the squad available to Pearson, here is how City may line up tomorrow against the side from the Midlands.

It’s a returning to the starting eleven for Rob Atkinson, predicts Jordan Jones. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)It’s a returning to the starting eleven for Rob Atkinson, predicts Jordan Jones. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
It’s a returning to the starting eleven for Rob Atkinson, predicts Jordan Jones. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Daniel Bentley is all but guaranteed to start between the sticks given he dons the captains armband. He’s only earned three clean sheets this season, so ultimately if City want to win more games, they need to keep goals out.

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One enforced change will be Rob Atkinson coming in for Nathan Baker, who has not participated in training this week.

Atkinson has been ill and has struggled to get his match sharpness back according to head coach Pearson, but this weekend will be an opportunity for him to stake a claim in the starting line-up.

As part of a three-man central defence, Tomas Kalas and Zak Vyner will play alongside him.

Covering them on the flanks will be Callum O’Dowda and Alex Scott, who are adjusting well to their role. O’Dowda has been used to playing higher up the pitch whilst Scott is still learning, but these two have coped so well with the task in front of them.

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O’Dowda scored in the draw against Blackburn Rovers, the first time he played in the position, so expect him to cause the same problems for Derby’s full-back as he did Blackburn’s.

Given the recent injury to Joe Williams, who unfortunately is sidelined again in his City career, they are thin on the ground in midfield.

Pearson likes to play with three central midfielders with one holding and two who can go forward as well as cover other players.

Tyreeq Bakinson will anchor the midfield and be responsible for defensive duties, whilst Han-Noah Massengo and Ayman Benarous will be allowed to go forward. Many City fans always want to see Massengo start as he has obvious talent, but now he needs to deliver consistent performances.

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For his creativity, Andreas Weimann has to start but he needs to find his goal scoring form again. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images)For his creativity, Andreas Weimann has to start but he needs to find his goal scoring form again. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images)
For his creativity, Andreas Weimann has to start but he needs to find his goal scoring form again. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Leading the attack will be a front two of Chris Martin and Andreas Weimann. There have been some question marks on whether Martin should play but there will need to be some experience when it comes to dealing with veteran duo Curtis Davies and Phil Jagielka. If Martin and Weimann can tire them out then the fresh pair of legs in Antoine Semenyo or Nahki Wells can punish that.

Martin played more than 200 games for Derby over a seven year spell, so may know the weaknesses in the Rams team.

This isn’t a must-win but should City fail to pick up maximum points then it could put more pressure on this team and coach. A victory coupled with some positive results could put them onto the verge of a top-half spot.

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