Cotterill backs his ‘winners’ against PNE

Jonathan Kodjia scores at Birmingham
Jonathan Kodjia scores at Birmingham
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Simon Grayson and Steve Cotterill have been singing from the same hymn sheet as they look for Preston North End and Bristol City to fully get to grips with Championship life.

Promoted together from League One, the two clubs meet at Deepdale with both in need of points.

PNE and the Robins are 20th and 21st in the table respectively, Grayson’s men having a point more than their West Country visitors.

While there is no particular panic at either club with just six league games gone, the desire of both is to string some decent results together and climb up the table.

At the same time North End lost to Derby on Saturday, the Robins were beaten 4-2 away to Birmingham.

“What we have in our dressing room, from me downwards, are winners,” said City boss Cotterill.

“We are used to winning, so this hardship we are going through at the minute will probably make us stronger as a group.

“We are winners, but at the moment we are losing – that is fact. But we must carry on fighting for one another, carry on working hard for one another and playing the football we are playing.

“Hopefully we will get the rub of the green we don’t feel we have had yet this season.

“I’m sure the results will come, but I’d just like them a little bit sooner rather than later.

“When we get it right, it will be really good for us at this level. But we have to go through this painful stage first.”

The Robins were undone by a first-half hat-trick from Clayton Donaldson at Birmingham.

The quality of strikers at this level something which Cotterill thinks is the major difference from League One.

Said Cotterill: “There are better strikers in the Championship.

“There is better movement, better delivery into the box and better quality all around.

“You may have to stop a couple of players in League One. But you come into the Championship and, all of a sudden, there are five or six players who can be a threat.”

Cotterill spent £2m on French striker Jonathan Kodjia to try and bring his strike force up to the level he thinks is required.

He also bid £6m for Dwight Gayle at Crystal Palace and £9m for Brentford’s Andre Gray, landing neither.

Gayle stayed at Palace and Gray went to Burnley.

Kodjia has scored four goals to date, two of them in City’s defeat on Saturday.

Ex-PNE loanee Callum Robinson will be in the visitors’ squad, having joined them on a season’s loan on the eve of the campaign.