As the odds began to come through for the Sky Bet League One title, you could find Bristol City at 16/1. 14 games later, the best odds you can find for Bristol City taking the title are 11/8. Steve Cotterill’s Robins are currently the only unbeaten side left in the Football League and you cannot underestimate Cotterill’s effect on the City side who have scored 3 or more goals in 7 of their last 9 games, but where has this form come from?
In July, Bristol City had their usual pre-season tour, but instead of going to the generic France or Spain, Cotterill’s side went to Botswana and South Africa. The tour saw them spend a few days in Rustenburg, training at England’s base camp for the 2010 World Cup, before travelling to Botswana to face the Extension Gunners and the Botswanan national side. But it wasn’t all football for the City players. The team also visited Childline Botswana, a charity set up in an attempt to improve the lives of children in Botswana, and many of the players have seen this as a great squad building exercise. Only one of the current Bristol City squad didn’t travel to Botswana and Steve Cotterill believes this was a vital experience for his squad.
However, performances on the pitch are how you win points, and Bristol City have delivered plenty of them. First game of the season they were 16/5 to beat (at the time) title favourites Sheffield United in front of the Sky cameras, but they overcame the odds thanks to their inspirational captain Wade Elliott and striker Aaron ‘Wilbrahamovic’ Wilbraham. Since the first day City haven’t looked back and now sit 6 points clear of 2nd placed Peterborough.
A couple of stats about Bristol City’s season; until Korey Smith’s unfortunate injury prevented him from playing against Coventry last weekend, Cotterill had named the same side 8 games in a row, and of the 16 players who have made more than one appearance this season, only two have failed to find the back of the net (Luke Ayling & Frank Fielding).
The question is, how long can they keep it up, tomorrow (25th October) the Robins travel to Oakwell to face Barnsley, before facing three of the best teams in the league in November in the form of Swindon, Preston & Peterborough, as well as a tricky home game against Oldham. If they can negotiate this month unscathed, you’d really fancy them to keep the run going into the new year with the comparatively easy December to come. This run has to come to an end soon, doesn’t it?