CITY begin their 2014/15 League One campaign on Saturday with a visit to promotion favourites Sheffield United.
As opening fixtures go there couldn’t have been a tougher one but after a summer of solid recruitment in the transfer market City themselves are one of the favourites for promotion – and with good reason. In total there have been six incoming players: Mark Little, Korey Smith, Luke Freeman, Luke Ayling, Aaron Wilbraham and Wade Elliott.
Little is a pacey right-sided player who can play in the back four, wing back or on the wing. Smith was Oldham’s captain last season, a great responsibility for a 23-year-old. He impressed previously at Norwich in their double promotion to the Premier League.
I was delighted and a little surprised at the capture of Freeman from Stevenage. The former Arsenal player’s performance at Ashton Gate last season caught the eye and he can deliver a great ball into the box as well as score spectacular goals. I’d expected him to be Championship-bound. Ayling, 22, is another ex-Arsenal youth player and joins City after an impressive season with Yeovil in the Championship.
We have also signed some much needed experience in the form of Elliott and Wilbraham. Whilst both players are in the twilight of their careers Elliott impressed on loan last season and Wilbraham starred for Crystal Palace a couple of seasons ago in their promotion to the Premier League.
I honestly don’t believe there is a team, on paper, that has had a better summer recruiting players.
With comparative big spending though comes the one thing a football manager doesn’t really want; high expectation from the fans. I worry we still haven’t strengthened sufficiently at the back but going forward with Baldock, JET, Wilbraham and Freeman we will definitely score plenty. I feel we will certainly be in and around the top six and a tilt at automatic promotion is not out of the question.