Nigel Pearson lays bare Bristol City’s plan to follow Luton and Millwall blueprint

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Nigel Pearson is hoping to take inspiration from two Championship rivals ahead of a crucial summer transfer window

Nigel Pearson has made Bristol City’s future plan clear as the Robins seek to emulate Championship rivals Luton Town and Millwall.

The Hatters and the Lions have both enjoyed successful campaigns so far, sitting in third and fifth place in the table with five games to play.

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Like City, the two Premier League chasing sides are not blessed with the financial power of the likes of Burnley, Watford and Norwich, however, their strong cultures have provided them with the foundation to be competitive at the top end of the table.

Pearson has spoken countless times about improving the culture and togetherness at BS3 since his arrival, and there is no doubt that the club has made big strides forward off the pitch over the last couple of years.

The manager expressed the necessity to keep striving for improvement on the pitch but also on how successful teams can achieve big things on fellowship too - as Luton and Millwall have done.

“More than anything it’s about trying to build a group ethic which underpins everything. It’s the essence of success whatever level you are at,” he said. “You can go a long way on just a feeling or togetherness and you can quite a long way with just having good players.

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“The sides that are successful have a good mixture of both and some top-end teams in world football have the best players and a fantastic atmosphere around the place too. It’s not a great secret, is it? It’s quite elusive and difficult to shape that. You’ve got to allow it to evolve, have a lighter touch on it and not be heavy-handed.

“You look at sides like Luton who have had another excellent season and Millwall have done really well. They have strengths as footballing sides but they have also very visible togetherness. We are developing that very nicely.”

Pearson guided City to a 17th-place finish in his first full season in charge last term, and his side currently sit in 13th with five games remaining, three points off their total tally in his maiden campaign.

Though that may not seem a dramatic upturn since his arrival, progression is progression, and the stellar off-field work of reducing the wage bill and crafting an improved culture at the club has set the Robins in a strong position for the future.

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Their scarce transfer funds have been well-documented, and the club have combatted this by investing in lower-league talent as well as promoting academy graduates into the senior set-up. Limited resources mean that transfer activity must be gone about carefully and efficiently, and Pearson stressed how vital the upcoming window will be.

“Recruitment this summer is going to be important for us obviously. To try and find those added ingredients that put us in a position that we can challenge at the top of the league,” he said.

“When you consider that it’s nine points between us and the play-offs, and you cast your mind over the season with either lost opportunities or however you want to reflect on it. The margins are remarkably small.”

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