Bristol City boost as £25m West-Ham linked star to return but four out for Stoke City clash

The Robins boss could have a selection dilemma against Watford - when several players are expected back

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Bristol City’s trip to Stoke City on Good Friday will come too soon for their injured trio, Nigel Pearson has confirmed.

Kal Naismith and Tomas Kalas have both trained but are unlikely to be in contention to play against the Potters. The Robins have a double-header against Stoke and then Middlesbrough over three days, and the quick turn-around of games mean that they are likely to miss out.

Naismith has been out of action since complaining of a calf problem that affected him during the first part of the campaign. He was injured in October and missed two months of the season, and has been out for a similar period after missing the last 11 matches.

Kalas has been injured since coming off in the 2-1 defeat to Cardiff City in early March. The 29-year-old has a groin injury which has seen him miss a large part of the campaign. He is out-of-contract at the end of the season and will want as many opportunities as possible to earn a new contract at Ashton Gate.

He said: “We’ve had Kal Naismith train fully today and Tomas is back out there too so he’ll do a bit more over the next week. Hopefully we’ll have both of those players back after the Easter programme in some guise.”

When asked if Stoke was too soon for Naismith, Pearson responded: The answer to that is yes in some ways. But it’s more about us making sure he’s back and stays back. That’s the big thing.

“He needs to build up the amount of training that he does so he was involved in the 11 v 11 this morning which is always an important part of the week’s preparation and was fine so no problems with that.

“It’s important not to put undue risk in front of the players that hinders their commitment to play. Kal, once he’s on the pitch, he becomes what he is on the pitch and that is a player who drives others on and sets high standards for himself.

“That’s up to us to pitch it right and make sure it’s as safe as it can be but you can never get rid of risk all together.”

Alex Scott is another player out with injury but thankfully his injury is not thought to be serious. Scott suffered a knee ligament injury whilst on international duty with England’s Under-20’s and missed the 1-1 draw with Reading.

The 19-year-old was reportedly scouted by West Ham last month, and supporters will be keen to see the teenager as much as possible if he does depart this summer. Scott could return against promotion-chasing Watford at Vicarage Road next Saturday (April 15).

He said: “Alex Scott is making good progress again, not for this weekend but hopefully afterwards he’ll be available.”

Republic of Ireland international Mark Sykes is serving the second of his four-game suspension after he was retrospectively banned against Swansea City. Tommy Conway meanwhile could have his minutes limited as Pearson manages him carefully.