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Cautiously optimistic ?


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I know that all the pre-season matches are simply training sessions against teams that are below our league, so we should not read too much into them. However, while we couldn't win a lollipop at a fairground for the final three months of last season, there appears to be hope.

We have not been beaten, all defensive combinations have appeared more secure, midfield more defensively aware and actually making passes to our own players and toward opposition goal.

The style/formation appears similar to Leicester City in their Premier win year. Solid midfield and defence with hitting sides at speed on the break as soon as the ball is in our possession.

This relies on converting a small number of goals from fewer chances than a side with high possession percentage. That may be our biggest weakness but if we can maintain defensive solidity, we stand a chance of gathering enough points to look upwards. A lot of low scoring matches to look forward to?

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11 hours ago, ralphindevon said:

I think the fact we’ll all be back in the ground, if we can improve on last season’s performances and let’s face it, it’s a very low bar, we’ll all be pretty happy*

 

* the moaning won’t get too loud on here until at least half an hour into the first game

We should have a sweepstake on the first ‘FFS’

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39 minutes ago, Puckle_red said:

I think we'll be tough to beat, but tough to watch. 

Like many, last season has scarred the mind, I'd take staying out of the bottom 6 as things stand. 

On a more positive note, we do seem more of a unit from the friendly games. 

COYR

Good post, but “tough to watch” is subjective, if it’s being harder to score against, more combative in midfield & a difficult side to play against then I’ll take that every day of the week after last season.

James, Williams (if we can keep him fit) plus either Nagy or King looks a far better midfield to me in that regard than last year.

Pearson is a pragmatist, he has minimal scope (thanks Mark Ashton) to significantly alter his squad, so he is cutting his cloth accordingly.

Wells & possibly Weimann are looking like our main scoring options, so we are thin there, but he knows this & will set us up taking this into account.

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10 hours ago, Robbored said:

I’ve been cautiously optimistic at the start of each season for as long as I can remember. 

However….that feeling started to creep in as soon as Nige was appointed on a three year contract particularly having heard his interviews when he was temporary in charge . He came over like no other City manager had and his observations of the shambles had become under LJ and Aston were spot on - no names tho. A proper manager at long last after 20+ years.

Since then he’s brought in quality midfielders and a decent full back all of whom he knows well and what they’ll bring. All good indications that we could well be in for a decent season.

All we need now is decent goalscorer…………..:cool2:

This is all very worrying  as I am in complete agreement, we have the nucleus of a very good team with a proven manager who understands what it takes to be successful.

Last season was an aberration, apparently unfit players, horrendous injuries and players who were looking to move on.

This season I believe we will surprise a few on here and will be disappointed if  we are not in or around the play offs.

If this is too optimistic for some ,hopefully can all agree that whatever our league position we play more attractive football and bring the joy and excitement back  not the dull turgid displays that we have become so use to watching.

 

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I think the big difference this year will be mentality. We were in a huge rut last year, and were happy (under Holden initially) to sneak a game, not believing we could match the other teams. That continued under Pearson as the players were just shot.

The getting rid of so many players, plus Ashton, plus Werhun, plus Rolls, removes a lot of baggage - it isn’t that Hunt etc were bad players, but to play that way for that long is mentally draining - I made that point during the season. Even someone like Walsh who didn’t play would be a negative influence - how could he not be while being injured all the time and never getting an opportunity?

Fast forward to now. New head of fitness, players - and players with PMA such as Weimann - back fit, Kalas & Nagy off a great euros, proven winners in James and King on board, a hugely promising CB signed and added to a core of young, hungry, academy players of potential. The vibe will be different. We’re not beaten before we get on the pitch.

Cautiously Optimistic? Yep. 

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2 hours ago, nick jones of hereford said:

People comment on how perhaps we are a striker short of success, but I’m pleased that Wells has been playing in that role, rather than as a wide man. Play to his strengths and use our talented youngster (Conway Bell etc) and I’m getting excited 😆 

Wells looks very sharp imho.  His link-up play showing confidence too.  Just need to find the right partner, whether that’s another striker like Martin, a clever running secondary striker like Conway or Weimann, or a no10 type like Palmer or Scott.  Palmer plays much closer to Martin in the games we’ve seen, suggesting he’s in the mix as a “forward option”.  When he’s played it feels more 4411 than 4231.  Not that it makes much difference.  I think Weimann will start on the right, mainly because of options there at the mo’, but the temptation to pair Weimann and Wells must be there.

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My expectation is the same as every season, and it's the same expectation I would have if I was a fan of any other club.

It's a new season, it's a clean slate, and my expectation is that every player should be working towards gaining promotion and winning the cup. You should never go into a competition with the attitude of just making up the numbers.

However, I'm also a realist, and after seeing last season you cannot expect to go from relegation fodder to promotion candidates that quickly.

I'm liking what I'm seeing with the fitness and the defensive side to our game. I'm also liking the way we're looking to press better as a unit. I also like the way Williams (I think) was looking to shoot from long distance vs Exeter - it's been a long time since we saw a clutch of long range goals. Probably Bakinson did it once last season, but before that it was probably Brownhill at Cardiff !!

I suppose I am concerned with the strike force. We're probably missing that strong lump of a striker who can bully defenders and has a bit of pace (think of Wayne Allison, Adebola, Akinbiyi), and we're probably missing genuine wide players. I know we have Pearons, ODowda and Semenyo, but I consider them narrow wingers, or wide forwards - they're not out and out wingers - and they need to be played when we have that lump of a striker up front, like Duric as another example.

I'm loving the youngsters coming through, but they will inevitably make mistakes and cost us games, but it should be good learning curve providing we don't sell them on.

Overall, I expect us to have the mentality of going for promotion, but the realist in me see's us as a mid table team.

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13 hours ago, The Humble Realist said:

Came across this season preview    https://link.medium.com/gYstTNUZeib which suggests we should be feeling 'cautiously optimistic '...

I'm not sure I would describe my own feelings as that but more 'cautiously hopeful things wont be s**t', is that the same thing ?!

I think most fans accept it's going to be a bit of a transition year having had such a high turnover of players. Cant say I agree with everything that's been done but we do seem to be heading in a much better direction that 12 months ago. 

Not long til the season and I'd certainly be happy and am hopeful for a season of mid table obscurity. 

Would that be enough for you ?

I see us starting surprisingly well maintaining a top 6 position until March/ April with a lot of media hype around Pearson/ Leicester history (Could Bristol city be the next Leicester BS on Football Focus etc... ) and then Inevitably we will fall away due to an Injury to a key defender or lack of Goals.

I think we will see just how good the Academy is this year and we will catch a lot of teams of guard early on through enthusiasm and unknown ability in our squad. 

We will be back here talking about what a great season we had and how we just need that big name striker to take us over the edge, but inevitably we will be in the Championship again next year minus the surprise factor of our younger players.

I am hopeful of a promotion in the next 3 years. But I wouldn't put my life on it. 

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Yeah I'm also cautiously optimistic, but then again (barring last season) I usually am.

I think the spine of our squad is a lot stronger. We could probably do with another forward, but perhaps this'll be the season we see the best of Wells. 

I think we'll be much harder to beat and that's a great place to start. Provided Baker stays fit (and Kalas + Bentley stay) we have a strong defence. 

My concern, like many people on this thread, is a lack of goal threat. However it's far more important to get the defence and midfield right first, and I think we might have done that.

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13 hours ago, The Humble Realist said:

Came across this season preview    https://link.medium.com/gYstTNUZeib which suggests we should be feeling 'cautiously optimistic '...

I'm not sure I would describe my own feelings as that but more 'cautiously hopeful things wont be s**t', is that the same thing ?!

I think most fans accept it's going to be a bit of a transition year having had such a high turnover of players. Cant say I agree with everything that's been done but we do seem to be heading in a much better direction that 12 months ago. 

Not long til the season and I'd certainly be happy and am hopeful for a season of mid table obscurity. 

Would that be enough for you ?

I just want to stay up and be entertained from time to time

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2 hours ago, GrahamC said:

Good post, but “tough to watch” is subjective, if it’s being harder to score against, more combative in midfield & a difficult side to play against then I’ll take that every day of the week after last season.

James, Williams (if we can keep him fit) plus either Nagy or King looks a far better midfield to me in that regard than last year.

Pearson is a pragmatist, he has minimal scope (thanks Mark Ashton) to significantly alter his squad, so he is cutting his cloth accordingly.

Wells & possibly Weimann are looking like our main scoring options, so we are thin there, but he knows this & will set us up taking this into account.

Tough to watch was losing game after game (especially at AG) in the second half of last season. 

Being competitive and hard to beat - even if we are not the most free scoring of teams - would be a huge improvement on where we were. 

Edited by downendcity
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Mid-table would be more than acceptable to me this season. I think survival is the first target, anything above that is a bonus.

We look more solid than last year, so I expect us to be more difficult to beat, and it's vital Wells plays as the central striker if we're to carry any goal threat. 

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2 hours ago, GrahamC said:

Good post, but “tough to watch” is subjective, if it’s being harder to score against, more combative in midfield & a difficult side to play against then I’ll take that every day of the week after last season.

James, Williams (if we can keep him fit) plus either Nagy or King looks a far better midfield to me in that regard than last year.

Pearson is a pragmatist, he has minimal scope (thanks Mark Ashton) to significantly alter his squad, so he is cutting his cloth accordingly.

Wells & possibly Weimann are looking like our main scoring options, so we are thin there, but he knows this & will set us up taking this into account.

Agree with this. Last season we seemed to go through several games creating virtually nothing. Even if our football this season is not aesthetically pleasing, it is hard to imagine us being tougher to watch than we  were in multiple games without shots on target. 

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2 minutes ago, Renaissance Williams said:

Staying out of League One should be the minimum we aim for, I'd say - as for the max...... How about achieving whatever it is we achieve with some flair, enthusiasm and backbone?

I think Pearson will have higher expectations than that. The man is used to success. I wouldn't expect a promotion push this season but I bet privately Pearson has much higher expectations for the team than merely surviving. 

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5 minutes ago, Renaissance Williams said:

Staying out of League One should be the minimum we aim for, I'd say - as for the max...... How about achieving whatever it is we achieve with some flair, enthusiasm and backbone?

Exactly the minimum I hope for is positive football, as much as I was a fan of Johnson the way we played with such caution and worry of the opposition was draining, with the young squad we have the advantage to really go for it and find an attacking rhythm making Teams worry about us for a change 🤞 

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A lot for me depends on the fitness of Matty James. Not to heap too much pressure on him, but i think if we get an injury to him, we are pretty much back to the same strength as last season. Can still see Nagy & possibly Kalas leaving as well, which won’t be ideal. 
 

As good as some of the youngsters appear, we certainly can’t pin our hopes on them this season, as the games against the likes of Millwall shown - they still haven’t gained much experience since then. Would take 16th if offered right now. Will very happily be proven wrong & im by no means being pessimistic as i genuinely believe in Pearson long term, just feel this is the reality.

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We are certainly going to play a different way, and are looking to be compact and organised at the back, and to press to create opportunities. IMHO we are missing a forward, but , even without one, we should be a different proposition. I can see us getting better as the season goes forward, as we learn how to play this different way. If we are solid mid table come Jan then I would be happy. Having said that, I do expect one more signing. A very good one at that. SL will back NP and we will work out FFP. 

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I know we can't spend transfer wages as such right now unless we sell one or two but surely those big wages that we were prepared to offer Fam (should he have actually signed the contract) are still in the bank? If anything this would mean a loan deal on a Prem striker (youngster) seem the most obvious route to getting more pace and competition up top with Wells/Martin. Would love for us to enquire about Liam Delap at Man City or Ademipo Odubeko at West Ham.

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It's always hard to know at this stage, because for all the work we've been doing, we don't know much about all the other teams. 

Whilst I comings haven't been numerous, they appear to have been shrewd and add quality. 

The big factor for me is those returning from injury. 

If we'd just signed (effectively) née players like Williams, Wiemann, Dasliva, Martin & COD, we'd be buzzing...! 

Kalas should be well back to his best after a great euros. Nagy should be fully fit & Wells should confident. 

Fingers crossed we have the right balance and also some of the encouraging youngsters progress well. 

I feared a relegation scrap, after the latter part of last season, but think/hope we'll be better set than that for this season. 

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Feeling a bit more confident following the pre season and signings.

Have to say not convinced up to that point with the lack of ability to improve things when he came in last season despite the promise of "sorting out the trouble makers", instilling discipline etc etc. We actually got worse IMO.

But the back to basics coaching, improving fitness, use of the the youngsters and raising morale that has been ongoing raises hope.

NP does give the air of a man who is in charge and knows what he is doing.

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2 minutes ago, Kingswoodactor said:

I know we can't spend transfer wages as such right now unless we sell one or two but surely those big wages that we were prepared to offer Fam (should he have actually signed the contract) are still in the bank? If anything this would mean a loan deal on a Prem striker (youngster) seem the most obvious route to getting more pace and competition up top with Wells/Martin. Would love for us to enquire about Liam Delap at Man City or Ademipo Odubeko at West Ham.

Who we retained and who we released including Simpson, Weimann and Baker, who we in effect re-signed all formed part of this season’s budget, of which we used some of it on Atkinson.  Some more of that budget might be used on extending deals for those players in their final year, and upgrading some younger player contracts.  Fam’s alleged contract offer (which he said Ashton was fibbing about) isn’t sat there in a shoebox ready to be allocated.

Loan deals for the likes of Delap are unlikely to come cheap (loan fee, wages, penalty clauses, etc).

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13 minutes ago, billywedlock said:

We are certainly going to play a different way, and are looking to be compact and organised at the back, and to press to create opportunities. IMHO we are missing a forward, but , even without one, we should be a different proposition. I can see us getting better as the season goes forward, as we learn how to play this different way. If we are solid mid table come Jan then I would be happy. Having said that, I do expect one more signing. A very good one at that. SL will back NP and we will work out FFP. 

Last season our midfield and defence looked about as watertight as a colander, while going forward we were slow. deliberate and ponderous with little or no pace in our attacks, making it all too easy for opposition teams to stifle what little threat we presented. We provided little pressure on opposition defences, giving them the time and space they needed to build concerted attacks, pinning us back and applying seemingly relentless pressure on our porous back line.

Being more compact and organised should cause or back line to be under less pressure, which would be  marked improvement. This is also aided by the midfield unit looking much more solid.

Not only do the friendlies indicate that we have a much more coordinated pressing game, which puts opposition defences under pressure and gives them less time and space, but we do seem to have a much improved ability to break from defence at pace and with decent numbers, creating better pressure and chances. Accepting that the level of opposition we have faced has not presented us with the problems that championship teams undoubtedly will, I can see us being a different proposition than we were for too much of last season.

Experienced players like Simpson, King and James should make a difference in organisng things on the pitch and hopefully Kalas’s impressive showing in the Euros should have restored his confidence, which seemed a bit shot last season. I know quite a few posters are worried that we might be relying on/expecting too much from a promising group of youngsters, but I think it is a good thing that we have a number deemed good enough to clearly be in NP’s thoughts and therefore good enough to be challenging for first team places. If this does nothing more than putting more established players under pressure for places, then this should be a strong motivator.

I would not be surprised to see one or two of them getting regular game time as the season unfolds. The development of the likes of  Pring, Vyner, Benarous, Bell, Conway, Janneh and Scott seems to be a massive endorsement of the club’s academy set up, which augers well for the future.

If NP has been able to break the mentality that overtook the club last season, can keep a fit squad and get an early win at Ashton Gate then while not expecting a promotion push,  I would say there is cause for cautious optimism.

 

 

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I think we will be harder to beat this season. I fancy us not to collapse after going a goal behind every time.

I have some concerns in defence. We know Baker can be unreliable but Kalas is prone to short-medium lay offs. Atkinson has potential but this is the biggest step up he’s made so far.

Id settle with a lot more 1-0 wins, better home form and a comfortable final position without looking over our shoulders at the bottom 3.

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12 minutes ago, VT05763 said:

Feeling a bit more confident following the pre season and signings.

Have to say not convinced up to that point with the lack of ability to improve things when he came in last season despite the promise of "sorting out the trouble makers", instilling discipline etc etc. We actually got worse IMO.

But the back to basics coaching, improving fitness, use of the the youngsters and raising morale that has been ongoing raises hope.

NP does give the air of a man who is in charge and knows what he is doing.

I think the important thing is that the players know  that he’s in charge and are confident that he knows what he is doing.

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6 minutes ago, Davefevs said:

Who we retained and who we released including Simpson, Weimann and Baker, who we in effect re-signed all formed part of this season’s budget, of which we used some of it on Atkinson.  Some more of that budget might be used on extending deals for those players in their final year, and upgrading some younger player contracts.  Fam’s alleged contract offer (which he said Ashton was fibbing about) isn’t sat there in a shoebox ready to be allocated.

Loan deals for the likes of Delap are unlikely to come cheap (loan fee, wages, penalty clauses, etc).

In the unlikely event that Ashton was not being economical with the truth, making it public was unprofessional at best. It certainly wasn't likely to persuade him to sign. I'm more inclined to believe Fammy.

In the meantime some are pinning their hopes on SL loosening the purse strings, which I doubt. He may have said Pearson would be backed but he didn't specify what that meant.

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