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Lee Johnson under pressure as Bristol City's relegation worries continue

Friday 3rd March 2017
Bristol City find themselves just outside of the Championship drop zone on goal difference after their disastrous run of form continued.

Bristol City fans are calling for manager Lee Johnson to leave after Tuesday's 2-0 defeat away to Aston Villa.

The result was the clubs 13th loss in their last 18 league games, having won only twice since 22nd October.

City sat in the final play-off place going into November but a dramatic dip in form has seen them become relegation candidates in the space of four months.

Only a swing of four goals separates them from relegation rivals Blackburn, who occupy the final demotion spot after they won 1-0 at home to Derby County on Tuesday. Rovers, who are seeing the benefits of a managerial change themselves with Tony Mowbray, also have a game in hand.

Johnson has received brief respites despite overseeing the club's worst ever run of eight league defeats in a row between December and January.

Saturday's 2-2 draw at leaders Newcastle had hoped to be the turning point, but the disappointing manner of their defeat to Aston Villa seems to be the final straw for City's followers. To make things worse, Johnathan Kodjia grabbed one of the goals against his former club, who he scored 21 times for last season to keep them up before moving to Villa Park.
Despite all of this, ambitious owner Steve Lansdowne has continually stuck by his manager of 13 months amidst supporters cries for change.

That may all change if City fails to beat Burton Albion at home on Saturday. Nigel Clough's side sits two places above them in 19th with a three-point cushion. Should that double in the face of defeat, Johnson is expected to be relieved of his duties.

Crucially, City will be without 18-goal striker Tammy Abraham for the match and now face losing him to parent club Chelsea, after reports emerged this week that Antonio Conte is willing to give the teenager a chance to impress in his squad next season.

Still only 35, Johnson is one the youngest managers in the Football League and made 197 appearances for Bristol City between 2006 – 2011. The former Oldham and Yeovil boss is now facing the toughest period of his career but has reiterated throughout this season that he intends to see it through.

After steering City away from relegation at the back end of last season, Johnson stated in August that he believed The Robins would be playing European football in five years.

With a modern stadium and a large fan base, many feel the club has the potential to fulfil such a prediction, but relegation into League One would all but end that dream. In turn, it could also see them facing rivals Bristol Rovers for the first time since 2001.

That all depends on how Saturday goes for Lee Johnson and his side: Win and survival is a real possibility. Lose, and there may not be a way back for him or the club.
John Howell

A graduate of Media & Cultural Studies from the University of West of England, I am a 26-year-old sports fanatic based in Bristol and an avid supporter of Newcastle United. I have written for several sites before joining It's Round and It's White and although I write primarily on the subject of football, you can catch me playing rugby on the weekends, no pun intended.

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