Meet the opposition | Bristol City (Emirates FA Cup)

16th January
First team
Bristol City away Ben Cabango

As Swansea City get set to take on Bristol City in an FA Cup third-round replay, we take a closer look at the Robins.

What's their story? 

Bristol City - historical photo

Established in 1894, Bristol City, affectionately known as the Robins, initially started out playing within the Southern and Western League, before being admitted to the Football League in 1901. 

The Robins have lifted silverware on three occasions in their history, winning the Football League Trophy in 1986, 2003, and most recently in 2015. 

Their early Football League years coincided with the club's best-ever league finish as they ended the 1906-07 season in second place in the top-flight, behind only Newcastle United.

That came on the back of promotion to the First Division the previous season, while they were beaten FA Cup finalists in 1909 as they suffered defeat to Manchester United at Crystal Palace.

Having gone so close to Premier League promotion in 2008 - losing the play-off final to Hull - they are now in their eighth-consecutive season at Championship level having secured promotion from League One in 2015.

How's their form?

Bristol City v Coventry - MTO

Bristol City have been in a similar run of form to that the Swans have been experiencing, right down to picking up victory over the weekend as they defeated Birmingham 4-2 for a first home win in nine attempts.

They have lost just two of their last eight games in all competitions, and will be frustrated they have not turned some recent draws into victories.


Who’s the gaffer? 

Nigel Pearson

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? 

Daniel Bentley

Basildon-born goalkeeper Dan Bentley is the Robins captain. The former Southend United trainee has been at Ashton Gate since signing from Brentford in 2019, amassing 143 appearances for Pearson’s side.

A solid presence in between the sticks, Bentley previously spent seven seasons with Southend, helping the Shrimpers earn promotion to League One in 2015. A series of outstanding performances earning him the player of the year, players’ player of the year and community player of the year awards for the Essex club.. 

A £1.1 million move to Championship Brentford followed and he spent a successful three seasons at Griffin Park with the Bees, before joining Bristol City for an undisclosed fee.

Bentley has not played in recent months, with Andi Weimann and Matty James among the players to wear the armband in his absence.

Who are the key men? 

Tommy Conway - Bristol City

Tommy Conway has 13 goal contributions this season. He’s scored nine goals – the most of any Bristol player – and has four assists which puts him second in goal creation.

Bermudan international Nahki Wells also carries a significant goal threat, netting on nine occasions already this season. The former Huddersfield Town, Bradford and Queens Park Rangers forward is amongst the league’s leading scorers and, like Conway, also has four assists to his name this campaign. 

In the midfield engine room is Matty James, a player familiar to manager Pearson for his role in Leicester City’s promotion to the Premier League.

Manchester United trainee James has been at Ashton Gate since the summer of 2021, when Pearson moved to snap the experienced midfielder up on a free transfer following the end of a nine-year stay at the King Power Stadium.

This season, James has been a regular, making 20 appearances.