I got the chance to speak to Mike Codrington ahead of tonight's crucial match against Bristol City, here's what he had to say.
How long have you been a Bristol City fan?
Pretty much all my life. My dad’s been going to Ashton Gate for over 50 years and as soon as I was deemed old enough (four) I’ve been doing the same. Got my first season ticket at ten and I have not missed a home league or cup game in 17 years.
Who have been your favourite players to watch, both old and new?
When I was growing up Brian Tinnion was the main man, a wand of a left foot who played more than 450 times for us. Even though he had anunsuccessful spell as our manager he will always go down as a club legend. In more recent times Lee trundle was an absolute magician. Although it didn’t quite work out for us and making only 53appearances before being loaned to Leeds, hisgoal in the playoff semi-final second leg against Palace will be one I will never forget. Him andand now Lee Tomlin are the most naturally giftedand skilful players we’ve ever had.
Do you have any memorable moments against Leeds United?
Unfortunately our record against Leeds is poor to say the least. I think this season is the first timewe’ve beat you in a long time and the first that Ihave ever witnessed home or away. Last season’sdramatic comeback is probably my mostmemorable memory trailing 2-0 in the 89thminute to the pull it back to 2-2 and earning usour first point of the season.
Former City defender Luke Ayling departed the club and joined ourselves in summer and has become quite the cult hero, were you sad to see him leave?
At the time selling Luke was probably an easy decision. We just recently signed Adam Matthews on loan again from Sunderland for the season(who we had for the last 3 months of last season and he was quality keeping Ayling out the team all together). And we also have Mark Little and an exciting academy product in Zak Vyner.
So we had four Right backs at the club. Leeds offered a good bit of money for Luke so it was common sense to accept. Since then the right back positionhas become a thorn in Lee Johnsons side with Matthews being plagued by injuries Mark Little being League one standard at best and we had to recall Zak back from his loan spell at Accrington to cover us. Luke was fantastic for us in are double winning season in league one and I just wish you bid the same amount for Little instead of Ayling!
You signed Matty Taylor from your rivals Bristol Rovers who was formerly linked with Lufc, do you think he's a good signing?
Welcome to Bristol !!!! Even bigger than Tevez To City from United!! When we signed Matty Taylor from Rovers it didn’t matter if he even kicked a ball for us!! Signing your biggest rivals best player who has single handedly won them back to back promotions with his outstandinggoal scoring record albeit in the lower leagues)for 300k was an absolute bargain no matter how good or bad he is at championship level. He got his first start for us against Derby and played a part in all three goals, opening the scoring and got both assists for Tammy. At 3-1 he had a chance to probably win us the game but somehow missed from 2 yards out. I do think with Tammy and Taylor we will always have goals in our locker and even if it doesn’t work out for him we would always recoup the 300k we paid out.
On Saturday your team went from 3-0 to finish 3-3 against Derby, what happened?
Before the Derby game I would of took a point before kick-off, being 3-0 up at half time whichcould have easily been 4 or 5 and tearing them apart in the process forcing them to make a double change on the half hour mark to draw 3-3 is just shocking. Defensively we lack confidence and quality.
I think it must be a confidence thing as it’s not the first time we have thrown away leads from winning positions this season. I have no doubt that Johnson would of told them at half time to keep playing how we are and keepattacking, but as soon as we concede heads dropand no one wants to take responsibility and we all knew that we would throw this away. I think if we lost that game 4-3 I don’t think we could have bounced back from that and I think it would have been a nail in the coffin of relegation.
Who will be your danger man on Tuesday?
I think if we play with the same 11 that played against derby, then we will create chances, you would have to say Tammy is the main danger with 21 goals so far this season, him and Taylor will always be sniffing in box. Brownhill will be lively in midfield and watch out for big Aden Flint from set pieces. Especially now we signed David Cotterill on loan from Birmingham, might not be a world beater but has a very good set piece in his locker.
Where do you think you'll finish in the league this year?
After the start we made I was hoping for a top ten finish. Now I would take anywhere above the bottom 3. We had a club record 8 straight losses that totally derailed the season. I think Rotherham are gone they don’t have Warnock to save them like last season, and we got to hope we can get enough points on the board to stay up.
This month will be a big factor in this having already played Derby away we also have Leeds, Newcastle and Villa all away from home with Fulham sandwiched in between. Apart from Newcastle who narrowly beat us 1-0 at the Gate we have taken points against all these teams with 3 wins against Leeds, Villa and Fulhamrespectively and a point at home to Derby, we tend to play better football against better teams. I think we are a much, much better team than ourleague position shows, in all the losses this season only Brighton have beat us by more than one goaland we have threw away a lot of points late on or from winning positions. If we can stay up and improve defensively next season in a left back and a right back and even another centre back Ithink we will see us in the top 8 next season. It’s just imperative that we avoid relegation this season.
Prediction and scorers?
This really could go anyway. Depends how you respond to your defeat against Cardiff, and how we respond to throwing away a 3-0 lead. Heads telling me 2-1 Leeds, Hearts telling me 2-1 City but I’m going to go with 2-2. Chris Wood doublefor you and Tammy and Flint for us … I think we will cause you a few problems and we are always good for a goal and also conceding , Hopefully Jansson isn’t fit which will be a big plus for us.Would take a point now.
We'd like to thank Mike for his time and his absolutely brilliant answers and wish him and Bristol City the best for the season. A fantastic team that plays attractive football with a brilliant young manager in charge. Who wouldn't like to see them do well?
By Ryan Ingham