This weekend’s iFollow PNE commentary team will include a player who represented both clubs with distinction, in former Welsh international Rob Edwards.
The popular former Lilywhites left back, who made over 250 appearances at Ashton Gate in eight years with the Robins, before being signed by another former City man, David Moyes, will join Guy Clarke in the commentary box this weekend to cover all the action.
And he caught up with iFollow to look ahead to the game, one he is looking forward to, having also done the 1-1 draw on the final game of the 2019/20 season, played in much warmer temperatures than we can expect this coming weekend!
“I really enjoyed watching North End play [in July], I thought they were unlucky on the evening not to get a result, but they certainly played very well,” said the Kendal-born former lilywhite.
“They have had two difficult results in their last couple of games, but part of being a footballer is being able to look forward to the next game and your job is to win football matches for the club and I am sure the players are looking forward to a difficult challenge in Bristol, but one they have done well at before.”
Bristol City beat Portsmouth in the FA Cup on Saturday and travel to Brentford on Wednesday night, before entertaining the Lilywhites, after their game against the Bees was called off at new year.
And Rob, who also played almost 200 games for PNE, says the uncertainty is difficult for players, but they will just want to get out and play; whilst he also thinks the return of players will be of benefit to the hosts.
“There’s a lot going on for players at the moment, but they can just be single-minded and think that whenever there is a game, they can just get out there and play – it’s a lot easier for them than other people at the moment.
“[Bristol City] made a good start under Dean [Holden – head coach] and played 3-5-2 most games, but they had quite a few injuries and their results turned after they lost three or four of their better players.
“They still have a big squad and they recruited a lot of players. They brought a lot of loan players back and they have enough players to get them where they want to, they are just on a little bit of a tough spell, dropping down from where the club wants them to be.
“But Ashton Gate is always a difficult place to go, they have been quite strong at home, and it will be a tough game for the North End boys.”
Rob has also noted the signings that Alex Neil has made in the last few days and thinks the addition of extra bodies will be important if a team wants to kick-on, with this – the 24th game of the season – marking the start of the second half of the campaign.
“I think the level North End are at, you need a big squad. Players do get injury, they get suspended or have a loss of form and to compete at the top of the Championship, the strength of your squad is everything.
“I know Ched [Evans], I have watched him play a lot; he will bring in experience, he’ll score goals, he’ll lead the line, he’s strong and physical and the other boys that have come in are highly-talented, so they will add to what is already a good squad.
“They will all be needed; the team changes from week to week at the moment, but the teams that finish at the top end of the table in the Championship are the ones with the deeper squads and the most quality in the squad.
“I watch a lot of Swansea, Cardiff and Bristol City – living in the area – and all those teams have had some tough results and had some good times, but now is where you need to have a good run, to get you into the Play-Offs, or even better, but it is such a tight division.
“Usually there are a couple of teams who stand out from the rest, but I am not sure that is the case this year, so now is the time to start winning games, when they come thick and fast. You will lose games; I remember when we were doing well under Moyesie, we lost a couple of games and he never liked losing any game, but one of the experienced players, Brett Angell, said ‘we will lose games, its about the next game’ and it is about not getting too down or too upset, just keeping playing.
“You are going to have tough days and games, but you have to keep moving forward and North End have a chance now to push on,” he added.
There’s loads more from Rob as he discusses the tight nature of the Championship, the Lilywhites’ recent record against the Robins and some of David Moyes’ tough training sessions. Just click on the video at the top of the page to watch the full interview.
You can also tune in to listen to Rob, as he joins Guy Clarke for full coverage on iFollow PNE from just after 2.30pm this weekend. You can sign up for a match pass now for £10 – click here to sign up and tune in on Saturday afternoon to see PNE take on City in the south west.