Steve Cotterill took over as Bristol City manager with the club rock bottom of League One last season. As he completed a lap of honour on the term’s completion though, the fans were applauding a miraculous 12th-place finish.
From March 1 until the final day of the season only 103-point Wolves, the league’s champions and record breakers, lost as few games as The Robins, who won seven of their final 13 matches and lost just once.
With a lower-league-promotion specialist as their manager – Cotterill has been promoted three times in his career, all with clubs playing below the Championship – the Ashton Gate-side should be well fancied for promotion.
However, there’s more than just managerial mastery that makes City’s 9/1 price to win the league this season the most appealing on offer.
Their strike duo were a pair of League One tyrants last season and both remain in the south west for another campaign of defender torment.
Sam Baldock led the way with 26 goals in all competitions, 21 of which came in the league, while his strike-partner, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas helped himself to 15 step-three strikes and 21 all told.
With Crystal Palace journeyman Aaron Wilbraham now providing experience off the bench, City’s strike force should be among the most feared in the division.
Other off-season acquisitions, like midfield maestro Wade Elliott, compliment well with a couple of young arrivals in Luke Freeman and Luke Ayling – from Stevenage and Yeovil Town respectively.
The fixture computer didn’t hand Cotterill the easiest of starts, dealing them an opening day clash with title favourites Sheffield United.
The Robins are 5/2 to win that game, but should they lose the 5/2 on a City promotion is perhaps a tempting fail safe for the season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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