JUST 186 days have passed since Hull City’s last visit to Ashton Gate for what turned out to be one of the more remarkable afternoons in the club’s 114-year history.
By the final whistle, Nigel Adkins’s side had secured their Championship safety with two games to spare.
That, though, was only the fraction of a story that included 10 goals and an almighty fightback from the Tigers that, but for a stoppage-time equaliser by Joe Bryan, would have yielded all three points.
No wonder those who made the long trip to the south-west were still discussing the finer details of the only 5-5 draw involving their club as the trains and coaches returned to the East Riding several hours later.
A repeat of such goalscoring drama tonight is asking a lot. Not least because plenty has changed for City in the meantime with four of those responsible for the goals last April – Fikayo Tomori’s header went in off Robins goalkeeper Frank Fielding – have since left.
So, too, have seven of the 14 players who featured with just goal-scorer Fraizer Campbell, Jackson Irvine, Kamil Grosicki, Jarrod Bowen, Stephen Kingsley and Angus MacDonald remaining.
We are trying to get him in positions where he can be a massive threat. He is committed – the whole team are committed to each other even though we are not where we want to be.Nigel Adkins
Such a rapid turnover perhaps explains why Hull return to Ashton Gate in the relegation zone but head coach Adkins believes the same spirit that pulled his side through six months ago is still evident.
“The players are working hard and there is a togetherness,” said the 53-year-old, whose side came back from 4-2 down to lead Bristol City heading into stoppage-time last April. “It is good that Kamil is back in the swing of things as he is a threat.
“We are trying to get him in positions where he can be a massive threat. He is committed – the whole team are committed to each other even though we are not where we want to be.
“Everyone is having a go but results dictate. We are moving in a direction where we look as though we are going to get wins, which is important.
“Bristol City is going to be a tough game, just as every game is tough in the Championship.”
Daniel Batty is a major doubt, while Kingsley is also likely to be out again. But Irvine, one of those involved last April, insists the Yorkshire side can this week kick-start a season that has so far produced just two victories.
“We still believe the goals will come,” said the Australian. “We are a positive group. We have a lot of time to put things right.”
Last six games: Bristol City LLDDLW, Hull City LLDLLD.
Referee: P Bankes (Merseyside).
Last time: Bristol City 5 Hull City 5; April 21, 2018; Championship.