WINGIE LOVES IT AS A CITY BOY
First goal eases the pain of year out
PETER ODEMWINGIE admits he’d love to let his family know where he will be playing his football next season. But, while that question remains unanswered, the striker is convinced Bristol City will still be a Championship club come the end of the campaign.
Last weekend, Odemwingie marked his first start since joining City on loan this month with the third goal in a 6-0 thumping of fellow strugglers Bolton.
It was the first time the 34-yearold had been able to celebrate a strike since scoring the only goal for Nigeria in a 1-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 2014 World Cup.
Indeed, his last strike in English football came against Fulham for Stoke in May that year.
Odemwingie missed most of last season after suffering knee ligament damage.
He found playing time limited this term when he returned to fitness, causing him to leave the Potters for the West Country.
But, while he has made a fast start to life at Ashton Gate, Odemwingie knows he can’t rest on his laurels as his contract with Stoke is up at the end of the season.
With wife Sarah and two young sons, Noah and Theo, at home, this is far from an ideal situation.
However, after surviving the full 90 minutes in the trouncing of Bolton, the former West Brom marksman is hoping to prove he can still cut it in England.
“I was very happy to get off the mark quite quickly, and a goal in my first home game was a big plus for me,” Odemwingie said.
“But, just as important, was playing the whole game. I hadn’t really put myself through a proper test since my injury.
“Pre-season was a test for me in the summer with Stoke and I thought I did well in the tournaments. But, after that, I found game time hard to come by and I couldn’t really continue like that.
“I had hoped to move in January, but then Stoke had a few injures and Mark Hughes asked me to stay. Then those players came back and being back on the sidelines won’t do for me.
“I missed football a lot and I know I have a lot to offer still. I want to be back enjoying my football again, which I am at Bristol City.
“I wish I could talk about where I will be next season and know what will happen because I have a wife and kids who want to know where we will be living.
“But I still have to see what level I am at after a few more games. The 90 minutes last week was good, but I know that I still have to get in five or six games to earn a contract for next season that will be best for me.
“Every game is an opportunity to do well and see where I am after my injury.
“But I am very positive about being at Bristol City and helping out here.”
While at Stoke this season, he was rubbing shoulders with European stars such as Bojan Krkic, Xherdan Shaqiri, Ibrahim Afellay and Marko Arnautovic.
But Odemwingie – who has ten goals in 63 Nigeria appearances – is equally impressed by the talent at manager Lee John
“When I arrived at Bristol City I was surprised by the quality in a team that was at the bottom of the table,” he added.
“On the ball, the players are really good and the manager wants them to play football with the ball on the ground and with good passing.
“But they can also play the long ball to our captain, Aaron Wilbraham, if they need to, which is good because not all games are the same.
“The club is also looking to push on next summer. They want to survive this year and go big next year. After speaking to the manager I knew I wanted to come and I’m really pleased with my choice.”
POTTER PALS: Odemwingie enjoys a Stoke goal with Stephen Ireland, centre, and Marko Arnautovic IN BUSINESS: Odemwingie, centre, celebrates his first goal since 2014 with Bobby Reid and Lee Tomlin, of City