Meet the opposition | Bristol City
As Swansea City get set to take on Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Friday night, we take a closer look at the Robins.
What's their story?
Bristol City are entering their seventh consecutive season in the Championship, following a challenging campaign in which they finished 19th in the league standings.
The Robins were relegated to League One after the 2012/13 season, but earned promotion back to the Championship in first place just two years later and have been a mainstay ever since.
The club boasts three Football League Trophies, as well as being one of the few English clubs to win the Welsh Cup, doing so in 1934-35.
How's their form?
Bristol City kicked off their season with a draw at home to newly-minted Championship side Blackpool, after conceding an injury-time equaliser. They then drew League Two outfit Forest Green in the first round of the Carabao Cup, and missed out on progression on penalties.
Their misfortune continued away to Middlesbrough, where they fell 2-1 thanks to a 70th minute winner by way of Matt Crooks.
However, the Robins picked up their first win since March in a 3-2 thriller away to Reading in midweek.
Who's the boss?
Nigel Pearson. Pearson began coaching just a few months removed from his playing career in 1998, taking over at Carlisle United.
After taking assistant roles at clubs like Stoke City, West Brom and Newcastle United, Pearson became head coach at Southampton in 2008.
After a brief stint with the Saints, he went on to land roles at Leicester City - who he led to promotion and Premier League survival prior to their title success under Claudio Ranieri - Hull City, Derby County, OH Leuven and Watford before replacing Dean Holden as Bristol City manager in February of 2021.
As a player, the centre-back suited up for Shrewsbury Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough, making 448 league appearances over 17 years.
Who's the captain?
Tomáš Kalas. Kalas initially joined the Robins on a season-long loan from London giants Chelsea in 2018. The Czech international made 38 league appearances and proved himself a strong defensive acquisition, so much so that he was announced as a permanent signing for a club-record £8million fee in 2019.
He was named captain of the club ahead of the 2020-21 season.
Despite being a Chelsea player for nine years, Kalas only made two league appearances for the club. He was loaned to seven teams in that span; Sigma Olomouc, Vitesse, FC Köln, FC Köln II, Middlesbrough, Fulham, and, finally, Bristol City.
Who are the key men?
Striker Nakhi Wells signed a three-year deal with the Robins in January of 2020 and got off to a flying start in the league, winning Championship Player of the Month in February of that year. Since then, the Bermudian talisman has made 64 league appearances and scored 15 goals, including 10 last season.
Midfielder Han-Noah Massengo became the first player born in the 21st century to play Champions League football in 2018 when he made his European debut for Monaco against Club Brugge. Since joining Bristol City in 2019 for a fee of £7.2million, Massengo has made 52 league appearances for the side. He’s touted as a prospect with bags of potential, and the City faithful will be hoping the Frenchman can be at his best this season.
Goalkeeper Daniel Bentley signed for Bristol City in 2019 after three years with Brentford. The goalkeeper was scouted by Arsenal at age eight, and was brought in to sign with the London giants’ academy programme.
Before his stint with Brentford, Bentley spent seven seasons with Southend United. He helped them earn promotion to League One in 2015, in a season which saw him earn their Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and Community Player of the Year awards.
Since his arrival, Bentley has made 89 league appearances for the Robins.