Kal Naismith pinpoints Sunderland danger man as he relishes Bristol City home debut

Bristol City defender Kal Naismith has identified Sunderland striker Ross Stewart as a major threat ahead of this weekend’s Championship showdown between the two sides at Ashton Gate.

Stewart impressed in the Black Cats’ opening day draw with Coventry City last weekend and will be eager to open his account in England’s second tier after 26 goals in all competitions last term helped his side gain promotion.

The 26-year-old will provide a tough physical battle for the Robins backline – a test that Naismith is looking forward to.

“I watched the boy Stewart the other day, he seems like he’s took to the Championship straight away,” he said. “He looked a real handful and a really good player so it’s a great challenge for me and the rest of the defenders.”

However, analysing his opposition in detail isn’t a method that the 30-year-old is too accustomed to, instead focusing on his own game.

“I don’t like to look too much at others, it’s just something I’ve never done in my career,” he said. “I’ll maybe watch little bits, obviously I’ll know what their strongest foot is, or I’ll know maybe a specific run they like to make if it’s a big target man that likes to peel off to the back post at certain times with crosses.

“I like to kind of focus on getting myself prepared and in the right frame of mind for the game and not get bogged down too much with the other team.”

Naismith will get his first taste of home action at Ashton Gate this weekend, along with Mark Sykes and Kane Wilson.

There is expected to be around 24,000 fans inside the stadium come matchday, and the ex-Luton Town man is eager to make it a memorable occasion.

He said: “All excitement for Saturday now, getting into the home changing room and getting that buzz for the first game - really looking forward to it. I think for any successful team, any successful season you need to be good at home.”

Pearson’s side won eight of their 23 home matches on their way to a 17th-place finish last season and will need to improve that record if they are to reach their ambitious goal of pushing for a top-six finish.

However, the Black Cats are very much on the up, and Naismith knows it will be no easy task against Alex Neil’s side.

“I expect a tough game,” he admitted. “Really good side, really good players and a top manager that’s been in the Championship and been in the Premier League. I know him well, he’s a great manager so they’ll be well organised.”