Sat10252014

Last updateSat, 25 Oct 2014 4am

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Sterner mission for Saints without John?

SAINTS striker Stern John’s absence from the Bristol City squad won’t cause the Robins a major headache when the two teams clash this weekend.

That’s because the Trinidad and Tobago legend – on loan at Ashton Gate from St Mary’s until the end of the season – has recently been unable to get into the City starting XI.

The striker whose 19 goals helped Saints stave off relegation last season has only netted twice in 17 appearances – nine starts and eight sub outings – for the Bristolians since leaving Saints in mid-October as part of the club’s cost-cutting measures.

John has come on as a second half sub in the Robins’ last three games, all of which have been won.

In fact, City have won six of their last seven Championship matches, including the last four on the trot.

The only game they failed to win was at home to leaders Wolves when they came from 0-2 down to draw 2-2.

John had been a regular starter up front with City’s record £2.25m signing from Crewe Nicky Maynard following his arrival at Ashton Gate.

But he has recently lost his starting place to the much larger physical presence provided by targetman Dele Adebola.

Maynard, after a slow start, is City’s leading scorer in the league with nine goals – including five in his last seven outings – while Adebola is second top marksman with seven.

City boss Gary Johnson has several options to replace John with on the bench for Saints’ visit.

John Akinde, signed from Blue Square Conference club Ebbsfleet last summer, or Slovakian Peter Styvar have made sub appearances recently.

Styvar was brought to England during the transfer window last month from MSK Zilina.