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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Wednesday, September 16th 2020

Changes expected for Northampton Town cup clash

Dean Holden is likely to name a fresh-faced Bristol City side in their midweek Carabao Cup Round Two tie with Northampton Town, with squad rotation to manage match minutes and fitness seen as the key to success.

The 18-man matchday squad will remain under wraps until an hour ahead of kick-off on Wednesday night (September 16th, 7.45pm) but it's a chance to more squad members to be involved and a chance for those to impress.

Mixing up the squad is not to disrespect the knockout competition or City’s League One visitors though, as Assistant Head Coach Paul Simpson explained it will be a side capable and determined of reaching the third round of the Carabao Cup.

“I’m looking forward to it because it’s the next game for us and it’s a great opportunity,” Simpson said. “We have a great squad of players and we’re taking this competition very seriously. We want to win every game, as Dean has said previously. We want to win this game and the big thing is there will be a number of big changes for the Northampton game because we have to utilise the whole squad.

“They need match minutes, we need our players involved but we also feel we are putting out a strong squad to win the game. This will be a tough game against Northampton and without any disrespect to the competition or the opposition with the side, it will definitely be a side which is strong enough to get a result out of the game.”

Aiming to improve

City have a 100% winning record so far, having knocked out Exeter City in the first round, ahead of their 2-1 victory over Coventry City in the opening fixture of the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday.

That will breed confidence in the messaging coming from Head Coach Holden and his new coaching staff but Simpson, who arrived at the club in August, is aware there is still room for improvement.

He said: “We know we are a long way from where we want to be, we know we’re way away from getting all of our players up to match speed but the longer we stay in the Carabao Cup, the better it will be for us to get the players up to match speed.”

Double reunion

Wednesday’s cup clash means a return to BS3 for former player Keith Curle. A centre-back in his playing days, Curle represented Bristol City between 1984-87, having started his career at Bristol Rovers.

He went on to play alongside Simpson at Wolves where Curle was captain, and he took over as Northampton Town manager in 2018. He oversaw their promotion via the play-offs in League Two last season, so City’s Assistant Head Coach has been impressed.

“You have to look at his record as a manager!” Simpson continued. “The play-offs last season, in the final they really did turn over Exeter City (4-0 win). They have a style of play some will knock but it’s really effective. We know we’re in for a physical battle, we know they have players who can play and cause us problems and having known Keith, he will have those players fired up for this game with a winning mentality as well.

The Robins overcame Exeter City 2-0 in the first round of the Carabao Cup, while the Cobblers beat Cardiff City 3-0 to set up Wednesday night’s encounter in BS3. A potential third round tie with Premier League side Aston Villa awaits, should they beat Burton Albion.

Simpson added: “We are not underestimating what to expect from Northampton. The players have to be ready; they have to be prepared to roll their sleeves up and work hard but let’s be honest, it’s not a real drag for any footballer to have to do that!”

How to stream the match with Robins TV

Bristol City Loans manager Brian Tinnion will offer his insight as a pundit on Wednesday's exclusive Robins TV Live matchday show.

Coverage starts 30 minutes ahead of kick-off at 7.15pm with our new enhanced Robins TV matchday programme featuring multi-angle, multi-replay production, commentary and expert analysis - for just £10. The stream is only available for supporters inside the UK. 

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