Bristol City preview & pub guide: Bees must beware fast starting Robins

Bristol City preview & pub guide: Bees must beware fast starting Robins
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Don’t turn up late at Griffin Park on Tuesday night as you could miss a goal or two – at least you will if Bristol City continue their early scoring habit and Brentford are leaky at the back once again.

Of the nine goals they have scored in their three league and cup matches so far, six have come in the first 25 minutes of games with eight overall in the first half.

On the opening day they were 3-0 up at the break against Barnsley with two goals from Bobby Reid and a debut strike from record signing Famara Diedhiou.

They were 4-0 ahead at the interval in the Carabao Cup tie against Plymouth and scored a fifth after the break, while Reid gave them the lead inside the first minute at Birmingham on Saturday, although they went on to lose 2-1.

City were promoted to the Championship a season after us and have finished 18th and 17th in the past two years.


Lee Johnson took charge of Bristol City in February last year, replacing Steve Cotterill, who had been sacked the previous month.

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Johnson, son of Cheltenham manager Gary, played 199 games for the Robins in a six-year spell – with Yeovil the other major club in his playing career, which also took him to Watford, Brighton, Hearts, Derby, Chesterfield and Kilmarnock.

When he moved into management with Oldham in March 2013, he was the Football League’s youngest boss at the age of 31.

Two years later, he moved to Barnsley and he guided them to the 2016 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final before immediately leaving for the Ashton Gate job.


BBC Radio Bristol Sports Editor Richard Hoskin gives his views on City’s summer deals and names the Brentford close season signing who impresses him.

Q –  How do you think City will do this season?

A – If City finish mid-table this season, I think most fans would take that. Only a late run of good form kept them away from the relegation zone last season, but this season I’d be very surprised if they finished in the bottom three. A number of the younger players are a year older and a year wiser and Lee Johnson has established good strength in depth, with options to choose from off the bench.

Q – How much of a loss is Tammy Abraham?

A – Naturally he’s a massive loss. He’s playing in the Premier League this season with Swansea and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was given an opportunity at Chelsea at some point in his career. However, City were too reliant on his goals last season, so hopefully more players will step up to the plate this year, especially in front of goal.

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Q – I see that his replacement Famara Diedhiou hit a debut goal – how much is known about him and how much optimism is there that he can take up the main goalscoring mantle?

A – He’s an unknown quantity, but for City to spend over £5 million on his services suggests he has something about him. At Birmingham on Saturday, he showed genuine moments of skill and quality, although I suggest it’ll take him a few months to truly settle in the Championship.

“I’m a big fan of Ollie Watkins, and he’s the kind of player you wouldn’t have been surprised to see Bristol City trying to sign in the summer.” Richard Hoskin

Q – How do you assess City’s summer transfer dealings?

A – Lee Johnson says he’s happy with his dealings over the summer months, and I wouldn’t disagree. Right-back Eros Pisano looks like a quality player, who should become a fans’ favourite. Nathan Baker is a player who supporters know well from his previous loan spell and covers City’s back if Aden Flint leaves the club. Niclas Eliasson is a young Swedish U-21 winger, but judging by his debut at Birmingham he should provide plenty of assists for the strikers.

Q – I know Lee Johnson was under pressure from supporters at times last season, but what are the expectations on him this time around and how do the fans feel about him?

A – By his own admission, Lee Johnson still has to win over some of the Ashton Gate faithful. But he’s always asked to be judged after three transfer windows, so now is his chance to really kick on. He’s a young, intelligent head coach who likes to play attractive football. So long as City stay clear of the bottom three, he’ll be given the chance to continue making progress.

Q – What do you know about Brentford’s summer signings and who will you be watching out for?

A – I watched highlights of Brentford’s defeat against Nottingham Forest on the television and I was very impressed with their attacking play. I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about the likes of Kamohelo Mokotjo and Neal Maupay so I’m looking forward to seeing them in the flesh.

In contrast, I’m a big fan of Ollie Watkins, and he’s the kind of player you wouldn’t have been surprised to see Bristol City trying to sign in the summer. Ultimately, Bristol City’s defeat at Brentford last season was a real low point, and it’s going to be a chance to see how much progress they’ve made in the last four or five months since then.


Brentford did the double over City last season without conceding a goal, having won 4-2 at Ashton Gate and drawn 1-1 at Griffin Park the previous season.

We won 1-0 at Ashton Gate a couple of Tuesdays before Christmas with a goal midway through the second half by Maxime Colin.

We completed the double at the start of April with first half goals from Sergi Canos and Lasse Vibe.


Lee Johnson said he would take his time before deciding whether to make any changes to the side that has started this season’s two league games for Tuesday’s visit to TW8.

He told the Bristol Post: “I don’t know at the moment. I’ll have to see if there are any niggles. I think that’s one of the golden rules of management to never pick a team an hour after a game because you’ve got all sorts of emotions flying around.

“We’ll sit down, we’ll assess and be calm. And we’ll do everything we can to bring back the points from Brentford.”

He may not have any choice, however, after defender Joe Bryan suffered an ankle injury at St Andrews.

Centre-half Aden Flint may again be absent on Tuesday after being left out at Birmingham, after Blues boss Harry Redknapp reportedly tried to sign him.

Flint, who played every minute of every league and cup game for City last season, has only figured so far as a late substitute in the opening day win over Barnsley.

Johnson said after the game at St Andrews that they had rejected three Blues bids for the player and that any chance of a move was now over, but left the door open for a reconciliation.

He told the Bristol Post: “I left him out because, listen, if he swears allegiance to the flag and badge and tells everyone he loves Bristol City then the door is open. He is a good player, Aden Flint.

“At the moment he hasn’t done that, that is why I am keen for the window to slam shut as quickly as possible because it is the only slight annoyance to what is a very good group at the moment and very good culture.”

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Frank Fielding (ex-Derby) has been first choice between the sticks this season behind behind a defence featuring summer signing Eros Pisano (ex-Verona) at right-back, the versatile long-serving Bryan at left-back and a centre-half pairing of January arrival Jens Hegeler (ex-Hertha Berlin) and Bailey Wright (ex-Preston).

Josh Brownhill (ex-Preston) and Korey Smith (ex-Oldham) have sat just in front of the defence and behind Marlon Pack (ex-Cheltenham) and Jamie Paterson (ex-Nottingham Forest).

In front of them has been former trainee Bobby Reid, the Championship’s top scorer, and he has been behind record signing Famara Diedhiou, who arrived in the summer from French side Angers, with the task of replacing the goals scored by on loan striker Tammy Abraham last time around.

The subs were goalkeeper Ivan Lucic (ex-Bayern Munich) defenders Nathan Baker, a summer signing from Millwall, and Hordur Magnusson (ex-Cesena), midfielder Gary O’Neil (ex-Portsmouth) wingers Callum O’Dowda (ex-Oxford) and Niclas Eliasson, who signed from IFK Norkopping last week, and striker Freddy Hinds (ex-Luton). Former trainee defender Zac Vyner was on the bench against Barnsley.




For City fans coming down, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming.

Last season, there were now only three pubs around the ground, following the closure of the Royal Oak.

The Griffin is closest to the away end (like 30 secs walk) and is very popular with away fans – but also very, very busy. The New Inn is on the other side and is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal is the other option.

But at last month’s friendly with Celta Vigo, a pop-up version of the Royal Oak was set up outside the now closed boozer to bring back the “four corners” feature again.

Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) …. The Globe (Windmill Rd) is the Beesotted pre-match pub. This boozer & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) are both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs and about 1 min walk from each other .. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’.

The Plough (Northfields Ave) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields (it’s a much better pub crawl route getting off at Northfields than South Ealing) before making your way down to the ground (normally stopping off at The Globe and Lord Nelson en route).

There is also a pub right by Brentford station always referred to as … the Pub by Brentford station.

For ale head to the Magpie and Crown pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal Horseguardsman can probably hold 15 of you at a push. The Brewery Tap is a cosy boozer by the river. And if you are super adventurous, get off at Kew Bridge and visit the brand new boozer One Over the Ait right on the river – beside the bridge. There are loads more too.

A quick Google search and you’ll find them all. There are many many more too if you have a look around.

Parking is pretty easy away from the ground going up towards and over the A4 Great West Road (ie. North) via Ealing Road or Windmill Road.

You can check out details of how the tube is running on Transport for London’s website here.




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About The Author

Ian Westbrook

Bees fan since 1971 - been through all the ups and downs. Written about, reported on, commentated on and wittered on about all things Brentford in that time as well as watching hundreds, if not thousands of games, and loved every minute of it!

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