Predicted Bristol City XI v Birmingham City as Nigel Pearson forced into changes

Bristol City travel to Birmingham City with several players missing in key areas.

Nigel Pearson will need to replace Kal Naismith and Joe Williams this weekend as Bristol City visit Birmingham City in the Championship.

Williams misses out after picking up a yellow card in the goalless draw with Coventry City on Tuesday, whilst Naismith is out as a result of a calf injury.

The 59-year-old has mainly named a settled team over the first quarter of the campaign with only small changes made to his line-ups.

October however poses a major test for Pearson and City as they get through a busy schedule, all whilst operating with a small squad.

Daniel Bentley is to remain as City's first-choice between the sticks, but as Stefan Bajic continues to rack up the appearances for the Under-21's there will come a time where he is challenged for his spot. As club captain, his role is more or less assumed in the team and for the goals conceded, not many have been firmly to blame at Bentley's feet.

After the draw with Coventry, Pearson suggested that he might revert to a four-man defence in the absence of Naismith, but that is unlikely now.

The trio of Zak Vyner, Naismith and Robert Atkinson have lasted up until the quarter mark of the Championship, but now for the first time someone else will have to fill in there.

Timm Klose, who has had to settle for a place on the bench this season and has had issues with injuries would be the go-to choice, but that isn't what Pearson was hinting at.

Klose is expected to play a part and will be in the match day squad, but player-coach Andy King looks likely to fill the role like he did after a respectable showing on Tuesday.

King's career has mainly been spent as a centre midfielder as has been seen with several players over the years, some make the transition into defence.

Atkinson and Vyner are likely to hold down their places but will have to maintain their consistent level of performance with Tomas Kalas closing in on a return.

For wing-backs, Kane Wilson will be frustrated to be injured at a point where he may have been afforded an opportunity. Mark Sykes has been preferred over to him but moving him into midfield would have given him an opportunity. Pearson sees Sykes' role as a wing-back for the time being however and he's done really well there so far.

Left wing-back Jay Dasilva was earmarked as a player that Queens Park Rangers wanted to nullify last week, which shows how highly the opposition views him.

As for the midfield, Alex Scott is back and available after serving his suspension and you'd expect him to slot straight back in. It could be a youthful midfield pairing of him and Han-Noah Massengo, given the absence of Williams and Matty James, as well as King being deployed in a new position.

Andi Weimann was an important player last season but for the past few matches, he's not been able to influence a match as much as he would like. He remains an important figure and there isn't any supporters out there who would consider dropping him given his influence in attack.

As for the two-man strike partnership, it looks like Nahki Wells is the only striker who is perhaps guaranteed a start. He is City's top scorer this season and has reaped the rewards of being patient after mainly being a substitute last season. Tommy Conway was dropped to the bench on Tuesday after carrying a knock, but Gary Owers suggested taking him out of the side to freshen things up.

An issue on Tuesday however is that Antoine Semenyo and Wells played too far wide from one another and weren't able to build up any chemistry. Wells and Conway meanwhile have had that experience in the Under-21's, as well as for most of this season.

As for Chris Martin, it's an interesting situation that he finds himself in. He was a regular figure in starting eleven's last year and now he can't buy a start.

Bristol City (3-5-2): Daniel Bentley; Zak Vyner, Andy King, Rob Atkinson; Mark Sykes, Han-Noah Massengo, Alex Scott, Andi Weimann, Jay Dasilva; Antoine Semenyo, Nahki Wells.