Lee Johnson's big decisions as Bristol City try to defeat 'bogey team' Preston

With Leeds United away next and following back to back defeats it would be a very good time for the Robins to win on Saturday.

Two disappointing but arguably undeserved defeats have followed arguably two undeserved wins, but that is life in the Championship.

Preston North End have only won three games all season but are unbeaten in six. The Lilywhites look to be coming into form and, being a bogey team anyway, it could be close on the weekend.

Our City reporter argues that with few attacking players finding form for Bristol City, the head coach needs to go with his main men this weekend.

Bristol City head coach Lee Johnson looks on
(Image: Rogan/JMP)

Meanwhile the battle for spots on the wings for the Robins rages on…

Which two play upfront?

Lee Johnson really needs to get a win this weekend and Famara Diedhiou has to get the nod upfront despite a lacklustre performance against Reading last time out.

The Senegal forward’s hold-up play was awry and the sharp finishing of pre-season was missing last weekend but that is temporary.

In the last six games, only Diedhiou and Matty Taylor have found the net – of Johnson’s forwards – and both just once.

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However, Diedhiou does at least regularly get chances and his goals to minute ratio is the equal best at City this season still (goal every 233 minutes). This writer backs him to start scoring more regularly this campaign.

Meanwhile, it has to be Weimann given the chance alongside him: yes, the Austrian hasn’t scored since August but again his goals to minutes ratio is equal with Diedhiou’s and he’s had chances. Eventually he’ll take one again.

His recent rest will have done him good. Matty Taylor has played well of late but there is not enough goal threat to his game currently and he hasn’t taken the recent chances he’s been afforded. His chance will come again and next time he needs to grab it.

Famara Diedhiou of Bristol City
(Image: Rogan Thomson/JMP)

If Lee Johnson perseveres with the former Oxford United forward at the weekend then he must pose more of a threat to the opposition goal as there will likely be some good chances created at the least.

Jamie Paterson could continue behind the front man if Johnson feels he needs a more creative ‘no.10’ player or for the side to keep possession high up the pitch better.

Wing war continues

Callum O’Dowda trained on Friday after being ill in midweek so will be available on Saturday but whether the Irishman starts is another matter.

Niclas Eliasson could have scored last weekend and was heavily involved in Josh Brownhill’s equaliser just before half-time.

Given the Swedish winger’s fine season and high key passes stats – passes leading to shots on goal – then we feel he’ll start again.

Meanwhile Marley Watkins, Paterson or O’Dowda could take the other spot depending on freshness and tactics. We feel that it may be Watkins’ turn, with the former Norwich City man matching Weimann and Diedhiou’s current ‘goals per minutes’ played ratio.

The head coach hinted at a bench role for Hakeeb Adelakun on Saturday in his pre-match press conference.

Hakeeb Adelakun of Bristol City in action against Weston Super Mare
(Image: www.jmpuk.com)

Full-backs in form?

The Lloyd Kelly versus Jay Dasilva competition for the left-back spot is pretty close with Dasilva getting the starting spot last week. Kelly came on and may be reinstalled on Saturday.

On the other side, Hunt has successfully trained the last few days so looks fine to carry on at right-back and has played well in recent weeks, including grabbing that delightful assist to set up Marlon Pack last Saturday.

Pisano is not far away from returning but Hunt should remain and we tip Kelly for the recall.

Goalkeeper change?

Any change needed at the back? Did Max O’Leary do enough to keep the shirt last weekend?

We think he did, just. So we’d stand by him with Niki Maenpaa on the bench. Though Johnson may opt for experience.

Likely Bristol City team: O’Leary, Hunt, Kalas, Webster, Kelly, Paterson, Pack, Brownhill, Eliasson, Weimann, Diedhiou