Liam Hoden’s Opposing View: Bristol City

Key battle: Tommy Spurr and Bristol City's Albert Adomah will look to outdo each other on Saturday.
Key battle: Tommy Spurr and Bristol City's Albert Adomah will look to outdo each other on Saturday.

THERE are a few similarities between Rovers and their hosts this weekend.

Both clubs opted to bring in new managers early in the season in the hope of securing their Championship status.

And both Rovers and Bristol City have prized strikers they are desperate to hold onto for that fight.

After an impressive introduction to football management at St Johnstone, Derek McInnes (pictured below) opted for what has become one of the most difficult jobs in the Championship over the past few seasons.

Though results have been mixed since McInnes crossed the border in October, he has made a difference.

City have the second worst home record in the division so far this season although this has significantly improved since the new man’s arrival.

Before McInnes took charge, the Robins had took just two points from their six home games but they earned ten in the subsequent six.

Two timely wins over Millwall and Southampton around the New Year ensured City remained outside the relegation zone but these were the only wins in the last nine matches.

McInnes has certainly inserted a great deal of energy into City’s approach.

A lot of what the Robins are about is down to a pacy counter attack, soaking up pressure before breaking away quickly and getting the ball to Nicky Maynard in the box.

Premier League target Albert Adomah is key to this and the attention he has received from the likes of Fulham says everything about how effective he is.

The 24-year-old missed last weekend’s trip to Brighton after a persistant injury caught up with him but he could be set to return in time for Rovers’ visit.

Without Adomah, City lacked invention against Brighton and failed to register a shot on target all game.

Tommy Spurr made a superb return to action for Rovers on Saturday and he will play an important role in a potential positive result at Ashton Gate.

His fitness will be tested to the fullest should Adomah make his return in time while Martyn Woolford will provide similar problems for James O’Connor on the other flank.

Both Woolford and Adomah will look to find the prolific Maynard, one of the Championship’s most sought after players this January.

Like Rovers with Billy Sharp, the Robins have been forced to go about their business wondering if their star man will still be at the club when the next match comes around.

Maynard shares a similar style of play to Sharp, both clinical inside the box and City look to get the ball to his feet as quickly as possible.

While the Robins are facing attention for Maynard from the likes of Swansea and West Brom, McInnes has been busying himself in the transfer window.

He has snapped up full back Richard Foster from Aberdeen and West Brom striker Chris Wood.

On loan New Zealand forward Wood will provide a different option for City between now and the end of the season.

The big, physical striker will provide a target man figure and look to develop a productive partnership with Maynard as long as it lasts.

During the Brighton game, Wood found Maynard a number of times and Rovers must be alert to prevent the two linking up.

HODEN’S VERDICT: Maynard’s wing men are key to his chances of scoring.