Western Daily Press
Pearson plans to streamline squad
BRISTOL City manager Nigel Pearson wants to work with a smaller squad next season. The Robins have 13 players out of contract in the summer and Pearson knows who he wants to retain, but has yet to inform the players of his decisions. The 57-year-old former Leicester City boss has already confirmed he will not be changing his coaches but the playing squad is another matter, as he looks for ‘hungry recruits and streetwise experienced players’ too.
City have used a total of 38 different players this campaign, including many youngsters with eight debuts handed out (Sam Pearson, Sam Bell, Ryley Towler, James Morton, Owura Edwards, Tommy Conway, Saikou Janneh, Alex Scott.)
Pearson detailed what he hopes to achieve this season however, in a BBC Radio Bristol radio interview with Geoff Twentyman on Monday on the weekly Sound of the City programme. Pearson told the show: “There’ll be departures this summer, absolutely, and there’ll be additions. If seven or eight go then it doesn’t mean that seven or eight will come in. I’d prefer to work with a more robust, smaller squad to make sure competition is very keen amongst the players.”
Pearson said he hopes to keep his best players, but that on occasion players may be sold where it ‘facilitates you to do other business’.
“Let’s be honest, if I’ve not told players in private then I’m not going to go public,” said Pearson when asked about the players out of contract this summer. “That’s the first thing. Because of the circumstances now it’s very hard to make those decisions now. We had a number of players play at the weekend who are out of contract who are playing for contracts.
“It’s not as straightforward as it normally would be. All I’d say is that I never make decisions lightly but I know the direction we want to go in.
“This summer is an opportunity for us to at least shape the squad and get it moving in the right direction. But you can never have designs on getting three or four players and get them signing for you. It doesn’t work like that. There’ll be strong competition out there.
“Fortunately for us we’re a very soundly run business. Although we won’t be competing financially with some clubs, I’m a big believer in not breaking the bank to get one player in.
“I’d rather have a realistic competition within our squad of players where there’s at least some equality. They’re not all going to be on the same money but it’s important that we all have a squad of players who are in the same sort of area earningwise. We’re not going to go out there and break the bank to bring marquee players in. That’s not what this club needs. This club needs at the moment to build the side in a sound way,” he explained.
City play Brentford in their final Championship game of the season, kicking off at 12.30pm on Saturday.