Antoine Semenyo injury opens doors at Bristol City but leaves Nigel Pearson with dilemmas
Bristol City are back in preseason training this week but one notable absent was their striker Antoine Semenyo, missing through injury.
Semenyo is set for a spell on the sidelines for the next part of three months which has come as a blow for preparations for the upcoming season. The 22-year-old has injured his shin whilst being on international duty for Ghana, which is a blow given his only involvement was as a substitute.
For the few minutes that Semenyo was afforded, he is now set to miss a period where games will be forced into a short time span, whilst his own ambitions for the World Cup have also taken a blow.
The news of the injury comes a week after a bid of just under £10m from an unnamed club was rejected as reported by BristolWorld.
On one hand it is a bonus as an injury could put off any potential suitors for the time being but the story remains the same that he will be unavailable for selection for almost a quarter of the campaign.
After a campaign which saw him reach 20 for goal contributions with 12 assists and eight goals, this season was going to be one where Semenyo could justify a high price tag.
Now there is a dilemma as to how City will get around Semenyo in his absence with a possible reconsideration on the transfer front.
Wells gets his opportunity?
One player that stands to benefit from Semenyo’s absence is Nahki Wells, who spent last season on the sidelines owing to the form of City’s formidable attacking trio.
Wells had double figures in his first full campaign but with Andreas Weimann’s return to action seeing a change in formation, he was one player that couldn’t be accommodated in the new system.
Out of the 13 league matches that Semenyo missed, they won just three of them and two of those wins were against teams that were relegated.
With three goals in 32 appearances last season, albeit with 25 of those coming off of the bench, there will need to be a better return from Wells if he gets his opportunity.
Nigel Pearson reiterated a number of times towards the end of last season and the postseason that he was a part of his plans.
There was interest in January from league rivals Cardiff City and speculation of a departure seems to have died down but now he must thrive on this chance.
Wells is at a plus and a disadvantage depending on how you look at things. He had recently been on international duty with Bermuda but that has left him with minimal rest so a break will need to come before he resumes full training.
Chris Martin’s workload
A section of City’s fans believe that a new striker may be needed anyway given the workload expected of Martin.
Martin signed a new two-year deal and is highly thought of by Nigel Pearson, who also described him as ‘the best defender’ at the club.
He got a respectable return of 12 goals in 45 matches last season but as for a player that turns 34-years-old, there will be a worry on whether he can repeat that feat.
Martin will only be a year older and the player himself is in good condition but a striker of a similar mould could offer him a rest when needed whilst also being an alternative option for other strikers.
New man Sykes finds a role?
The signings of Kal Naismith and Kane Wilson were needed as defensive reinforcements were at the top of Pearson’s wish list but the addition of Mark Sykes was one perhaps on beefing up the squad.
Sykes has come off a stellar season with Oxford United but placing him in a starting XI would be a difficult task in the current system.
The player himself admits he likes to play in midfield and now he could take the role of Andreas Weimann who could be pushed higher forward to accommodate Martin.
Weimann’s feat of 20 goals whilst not really being an out-and-out striker is an incredible feat and he does tend to come deep so moving him further forward could limit his involvement in the team if he were to move higher up.
A chance for Conway and Bell?
Sam Bell found himself playing in the unfamiliar role as wing-back last season with mixed success. He coped against Middlesbrough but against Birmingham City he had a torrid time.
Bell and Conway, both academy graduates, now have moved up in the pecking order in the absence of Semenyo.
They will already be given a chance in pre-season given how the games work and if one of them can pick up some form in the matches coming up then there lies an opportunity to play in some competitive games.
Conway is the more likelier out of the two given he was brought on as a striker in Cup matches and offers some versatility.