BRISTOL City’s players held a minute’s silence to mark Aaron Wilbraham’s departure to Bolton Wanderers – now Phil Parkinson hopes the former Robins striker can quiet Ashton Gate as well.

Desperate to find a winning formula after a club record SIX games without a goal, the Wanderers boss has not ruled out the veteran front man starting against his former club.

Wilbraham spent three years at Bristol City and fired 21 goals as they got back into the Championship in 2015.

Such was his popularity in the dressing room, Lee Johnson’s squad staged a mock funeral when he moved back to the North West, where he had first cut his professional teeth with Stockport County.

His starts thus far for the Whites have been consigned to the cup competitions but Parkinson insists he has not brought the 37-year-old to the Macron Stadium as a bit-part player.

“First of all, we believe he can start games – I haven’t brought him here to be a 15-20 minute player,” he told The Bolton News. “ In fairness to Gaz (Madine), he’s been playing pretty well.

“But we brought Wilbraham in two-fold, to guide Gaz a little bit but also to compete for his place as well.

“He is going back to his former club, which is nice on a personal level because he was held in high regard there.

“He has to strike that balance but as he did against West Ham and Sheffield Wednesday, he can play the 90 minutes, he’s a very fit player. He’s not just here to be on the bench.”

Another former Robin, Mark Little, has been among Wanderers’ more consistent players in recent weeks.

Parkinson believes the wing-back, who also helped guide the club back into the second tier under Steve Cotterill, is starting to come into his own.

“Mark has been great, he came in a little bit undercooked in pre-season and took a bit of time to get going but he’s been terrific for us,” he added.

Parkinson admitted his side became more vulnerable as they chased the game against Brentford on Saturday and may well look to shore up his midfield tonight.

He defended his choice of tactics, however, and believes an early goal during the Whites’ period of dominance would have meant a completely different outcome.

“We looked at Brentford and felt we had to press them,” he said. “We got chances.

“Sheffield United did it on the first game of the season and got a goal and that was the difference. Had we done the same, maybe it’s a different game?

“That first wonder strike deflated us and it shouldn’t happen. When we conceded against Ipswich we went ‘bang’ and up the other end to nearly score two or three times.

“It was the first time our heads really dropped and we have to guard against it because there’s a long time left in the game.”

Wanderers do not have happy recent memories of Ashton Gate.

Victory in their 2013 play-off chase was blighted by a toe injury to Jay Spearing which had a profound effect on the run-in.

And the events of March 19, 2016, left an indelible mark on anyone unlucky enough to witness them – Jimmy Phillips and Peter Reid presiding over their first game in charge after the departure of Neil Lennon, a 6-0 horror show.

Wilbraham scored the opening goal that afternoon but Parkinson is likely to have only three players – David Wheater, Darren Pratley and Gary Madine – who were involved with the squad.

“I know the last time Bolton went down there is wasn’t a good result but we’re not going to take that down there as a negative, we just have to look to improve quickly on what we did at the weekend,” Parkinson said.

Wanderers’ opponents sit eighth with just one defeat from their opening eight games.

“We know Bristol City are having a decent season but they went through a horrific spell last year where they lost eight or nine and came through the other side of it,” Parkinson said.

“Like I keep saying, if we go into the game thinking someone is going to hand it to us or that help is on the way, it won’t happen. We have to dig deep.”