The Opposition: Bristol City

Last updated : 25 May 2008 By Gavin Mapstone

Probable Starting XI
GK - Adriano Basso
The Brazilian has worked his way to his current position having been spotted playing for Woking. An excellent shot-stopper he has a fine record at saving penalties. Won some valuable points for us this season and rated by some as the best outside of the Premier League.

RB - Bradley Orr
Not the greatest player technically but has the heart of a lion and never stops going. Pops up with the odd goal from range. Some look more like crosses than shots. Very good defensively and voted into the Championship team of the year.

CB - Louis Carey
Local lad who has spent most of his career at City. When on song leads from the front and having played right-back early in his career not bad at going forward for a centre-back. A good all round defender.

CB - Jamie McCombe
Cheap buy from Lincoln at start of 06-07 season who has gone from strength to strength. Very good in the air in both boxes and good timing of tackles helps compensate for a lack of pace.

LB - Jamie McAllister
Probably took a step too far down when moving from Hearts to League One but that decision has now been vindicated. Links up well with McIndoe down the left.

RM - David Noble
Not his natural position but his move there helped steady a midfield that was missing the creative input of Lee Johnson. Not noted for his shooting which made his goal against Palace memorable in more ways than one. Not quick but very skilful on the ball and seems to score important goals. His brace against Rotherham sent us up last season.

CM - Marvin Elliott
Tireless defensive midfielder who looks to be back to his best after dipping in the Spring. Good engine and harries the opposition midfield all game long. He's in the team for his defensive qualities but also a danger when he gets in the penalty area. Also selected in the Championship team of the season.

CM - Nick Carle
Australian international picked up in the transfer window. Nick spent a lot of time playing futsal and it shows in excellent control and rarely gives the ball away. Needs to add some goals to his play and then we'll have some player. If City win then expect him to be getting rave reviews in the post match-analysis.

LM - Michael McIndoe
Our most consistent player and his work-rate possibly even exceeds Elliotts. One of those players who is a born winner and epitomises the spirit in the City squad. Not the quickest but will run at defenders and happy to track back. Occassionally drifts infield in search of the ball which can disrupt our shape.

CF - Dele Adebola
Target man in his twilight years. On song Dele can rough up any defence. Other games he is not so effective. After being outstanding in the first leg against Palace he was quiet in the second leg but the suspicion could be that that game came too quick. His last chance at the big-time.

CF - Lee Trundle
Expensive signing who has finally started to look comfortable at this level. The fitness staff have worked hard with him and considering the stage of the season we're at is fresh and confident. Would love to be capped for Republic of Ireland and this offers him the perfect stage to shine. Like Dele probably his last chance to play in the Premier League.

City will play an orthodox 4-4-2 and look to settle into a patient passing game. The midfield and Trundle are all comfortable with playing pass and move and if allowed into a rhythm will be hard to stop and exciting to watch. Noble is not a natural right-midfielder and getting him into the game will be crucial.

Also important will be for Adebola to have one of his good games. He's repaid his fee already with his goals and presence but at Coventry he had a reputation for being a one game in three player. A repeat of the way he tore into Blackburn for Cov in the FA Cup would be more than acceptable.

If City resort to long-balls then that will mean Hull are playing well and fans get worried when we go direct as we're not so effective this way. All our best performances have come when we've played like a lower league Arsenal.

City will be a danger from set-pieces with Elliott, Adebola and McCombe all a danger in the air whilst Trundle will probably provide at least one moment of genius in the game.

City had no trouble selling out the 38,000 tickets. 20,000 released for general sale went in 20 minutes and the club will go to Wembley confident that they can get victory. That said most will accept that Hull go there with an equal chance and this game could go either way.

For the neutral, well they can rejoice that it's not Palace vs Watford and hopefully enjoy what should be a fine advert for Championship football.

May the best team win and do the league proud next season.