BRISTOL CITY: KEEP, SELL, LOAN; THE FANS CHOICE

I recently ran a survey on my social media, for Bristol City fans to complete to get a wide view on how the fans see the current squad, and whether they would keep them at the club for the 2021/22 season.

The survey asked for one response for each player ‘Keep’, ‘Loan’ or ‘Sell’, or for the players out of contract in the summer ‘Offer Contract’ or ‘Release’. Here are the results from the over 400 responses received, and some context on possible reasons why the fans voted the way they did.

Enjoy the read and make sure you tell me your thoughts either on my aforementioned Twitter or in the comments on this post.

Goalkeepers

Daniel Bentley has been more than a safe pair of gloves in goal for City since his signing in 2019. If not for him, City would be in a lot worse position than they currently are. Nottingham Forest and Barnsley away games are two matches where if not for him, the score would have been embarrassing. He is slightly prone to a mistake like Blackburn Rovers last season or Bournemouth this, but to discredit what he has done for the club would be foolish.

Max O’Leary is one unlucky guy. He is a class goalkeeper, maybe a little suspect with high long balls in the air but improvements are made with game time and that is something that has been hard to find. His performances in the 2018/19 season showed how good a ‘keeper he already is, and would be first choice between the sticks for a few Championship clubs.
Fun fact: Out of the current squad, O’Leary made his debut first, playing the FA Cup ties against West Brom in 2016.

Jojo Wollacott is 24 years old now, and has only made 12 Football League appearances. His loan at Swindon Town was cut short earlier in the season, however I am not too sure how beneficial for both player and club another year out on loan would be.

Right Back

When Jack Hunt arrived at Ashton Gate, many fans were happy to see a player with experience in the league whilst improving the squad. Seen as a more attacking option than Eros Pisano and an all round improvement on Bailey Wright. He as struggled this season, as have many players, his attacking numbers have dropped such as a 7% drop in crosses completed and less than half of the assists despite playing the most minutes in a season since joining.

Danny Simpson is relatively unknown in the sense of his fit in the squad. His experience with Nigel Pearson at Leicester City and his over 300 appearances in English football seems like he would be a good squad player for next year. His struggles last year at Huddersfield Town and is wage demands may be a turn off for most fans.

Taylor Moore has struggled this season when he has played and it is such a shame as most fans were excited about his first team prospects. Drowned out by Ashley Williams last season, after a promising start, Moore has been a fan favourite on most of his loan travels. It seems that his fifth year at the club will be his last and if that is true then he has my best wishes.

Centre Back

Captain Tomas Kalas has found a regular centre back partner hard to come by since the departure of Adam Webster in 2019. The defender is the most favourable player with the fans as over 97% of participating fans want him in the squad for next year. The clubs most expensive player needs a solid partner to play with him and is one of the shining lights from this season.

Adrian Mariappa joint the reds on a free contract in November and after a torrid few matches playing at left back, he has fit more comfortably at his more regular position. Almost identical to the signing of Ashley Williams last season, I agree with most of the fans who believe he will not receive an extension to his contract.

The Nathan Baker situation is a very tough one. I do not believe there is a fan out there that does not think he is less than an excellent defender. Old fashioned in both his physical defending and passion for the sport, I would suggest if he was fit for the whole of this season, the club would be in a better position. His injury record is the only reason that fans would sadly let him leave the club in the summer.

Left Back

The story of Jay Dasilva is parallel to Nathan Baker. The kid is rapid, skilful and has a good football brain, but sadly he has suffered a few big injuries since joining permanently last year. The 21 votes to let him leave must be thinking about his injury record, but this is one player we need to keep.

Tommy Rowe has had a really awkward time at the club, signing from Doncaster Rovers his last match for the club was the play-off semi-final where he played behind the striker- fast forward three months and he is first choice on the left of defence, whether in a back four or five. He has played all positions, including as a make shift centre back whilst at City. Someone who deservers a little more respect from some fans but I think it is time to move on.

Cameron Pring was recalled from his loan at Portsmouth in January only to pick up an injury that has kept him out ever since. Young and upcoming a loan full season out on loan in League One will do him good.

Centre Midfield

Zak Vyner is one of our own and his breakthrough to the first team is very pleasing to see. Only missing three games since ‘Project Restart’ his importance to the team has grown through the season. Pushed up to midfield since January his improvement as a player is clear to see, and his place in the first team for next season is almost assured.

The thoughts on Adam Nagy last season from some fans were very unjust. Many saw him as a very negative, sideward player. His seven ball recoveries a match is higher than both Vyner and Bakinson for this season, and more than Joe Williams last season for Wigan. Keep him in the team and good things will happen.

Joe Williams joint the club in the summer as our only transfer that cost money, and has played 60 minutes of league football. Reports of discontent between him and the medical team at the club came at no surprise. We are yet to see anything from him, and a fresh start next season will bring its rewards both player and club.

Centre Midfield

Liam Walsh made League One look easy last year with Coventry City and hopes were high for him to cement his place in the starting 11 and earn a new contract. Neither has happened due to injury and possible incompetence from the club. It is to key importance to keep him at the club and most City fans agree.

It has been a largely impressive breakout season for Tyreeq Bakinson. Making his first appearance for the club on the opening day of the season since his cameo in the 4-1 win against Crystal Palace in 2017. The 22 year old has made a great impression this season, but I would think he has one loan spell left in him if a rumoured club clear out happens.

Han-Noah Massengo might be the most loved player at the club which stemmed from his excellent start to life in Bristol last season. After only playing four minutes in Pearson’s first three matches; he has started the last five. His potential is high but has slightly dwindled under the movement of Dean Holden. I hope he stays cause he can be special.

Attacking midfield

Jamie Paterson started the season perfectly with a goal and assist in the opening day 2-1 win against Coventry. Under Holden he played a deeper role than we are used to and it worked well, carrying on his form since his recall from loan at Derby County at year. Only playing nine minutes of football under Pearson may hurt him but over two thirds of fans want him to stay at the club.

Kasey Palmer has never really kept a place in the squad under Lee Johnson, and his loan at Swansea City gave fans thoughts he was finished at the club. He has played in every match since his recall (minus the Portsmouth FA Cup match were he was ill). Keeping him for next season would be a massive boost as we have seen a more determined version of what we saw in the past.

Henri Lansbury has not had a good time in BS3 to say it nicely. He is very experienced in the division but he blows hot and cold and currently is not on good form. Aspects of his game is good but the fact his has the largest majority of fans wanting him out, does not look good for him.

Winger

Callum O’Dowda has had a mixed time at Bristol City. When it is going good he he great. He is quick on and off the ball and is a bag of tricks. When it is going bad, he is anonymous and resembles a Sunday League player. His injuries have hampered him at the club, picking up another serious injury this season. Most City fans would like to see him stay and so would I.

Hakeeb Adelakun has been a Bristol City player for three years and his only time I can remember him playing was Ipswich away in 2018. Joining from Scunthorpe United with some fanfair from Irons fans, he has not cemented his place in the squad enough to justify a new contract.

When Marley Watknis joint the club from Norwich City in 2018, fans from the club were happy to see him leave and was described by one fan as ‘One of the worst players to pull on a Norwich Shirt.’ To be fair when I have seen him he has been okay but no where near enough to reward him with more football at the Gate.

Winger/Striker

Antione Semenyo has been one of few positives to come out of this season. His progression is clear to see and his willingness to travel with the ball is something we haven’t seen for a while. His two goals in the league have been unorthodox and realistically should have scored more. Goals will hopefully come next season if we keep him, which we should.

The loss of Andi Weimann has been a critical one for City this season. His work ethic is second to none and his energy and knack for finding space in the box for a goal is a keep aspect of this game. The vast majority of the fans agree to keep him on for next season, something that the club should really do.

Nahki Wells has sadly not worked as well as everyone thought it would when he joined from Burnley last year. Pushed onto the wing for around a third of his games this season, there has been discontent from fans over his performances. Keeping him would be the right thing to do, unless he misses another penalty in the same fashion as against Norwich City this year!

Famara Diedhiou has had many critics for his time at the club, but since he went away on international duty in October 2019 clear improvements in his game have been seen. He has 50 goals for the club and should really have more as he is prone to missing sitters (Hull City away in 2019 where he hit the bar when he was on the goal line). Sadly it seems he is asking for too much money for a new contract and with over 60% of City fans thinking its time for him to go, we wont be seeing any of the £6,00,000 paid for him in 2017.

Chris Martin started well at City, he won almost everything in the air and his connection to Wells and Weimann in the early parts of the season were promising. He has been injured since the end of January and at the age of 32, I don’t see him wanting to be on the move again. A helpful squad player for next season I think.

Now comes Nigel Pearson. I had the pleasure of having him be a guest speaker at one of my seminars in early February just before his appointment and his honesty and demeaner was brilliant. Every interview he does is thought through, but the fact that the confidence in the team seems as low as it was during Dean Holden’s loosing run that saw him sacked does not look good. I really hope he is kept and the club as he has a proven record with Hull City and primarily Leicester City but does have the Derby County spell on his CV. All we can ask is for Mr Lansdown to get his contract sorted as soon as possible and then give him the control in the transfer market.

So here the list of players that the fans have voted to remain at the club for next season.

Goalkeepers: Daniel Bentley; Max O’Leary; Jojo Wollacott (loan)
Defenders: Tomas kalas; Jay Dasilva; Cameron Pring (loan)
Midfield: Zak Vyner; Adam Nagy; Joe Williams; Liam Walsh; Tyreeq Bakinson; Han-Noah Massengo; Jamie Paterson; Kasey Palmer
Forwards: Antione Semenyo; Andi Weimann; Nahki Wells; Chris Martin

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