Bristol City make decision on player at risk of free transfer next year

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It’s a new contract - but not for someone you’d expect with deals set to expire this summer

Bristol City have extended the contract of the currently sidelined Rob Atkinson, who will remain at the club for the next three years.

His deal was due to expire in the summer of 2024, and there was an option for another year, but he will now be contracted to the Robins until the summer of 2026. Atkinson joined the club from Oxford for an undisclosed fee in 2021, and was Nigel Pearson's first signing that involved a transfer fee.

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The centre-back is currently sidelined after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in February, which required surgery. He is working hard to recover from one of the games most serious injuries, and has started the first bit of work in what is a long road to recovery.

The 25-year-old is set to miss pre-season and a part of the 2023/24 campaign, but could return by the end of the year. His absence has been felt amongst the backline with Zak Vyner the only recognised centre-back over the last two months with Tomas Kalas also sidelined.

“I’m feeling good,” said Atkinson to the clubs official website on why he signed a new deal.

“It’s been in the works for quite a while now - way before my injury - and to have those doubts that come with a long-term injury, it’s good to have that security and protection,” said Atkinson.

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“It allows me to clear my mind and really focus on my rehab so I can come back and be even better for the team

“Over my time at the club I feel as though I’ve developed into a better player and person here, and that’s thanks to all the staff and my teammates. I’m in a really good place here and long may it continue.”

To date, Atkinson has made 66 appearances for the club and has scored six goals whilst also registering three assists. In the Championshp this year, he kept seven clean sheets in 26 league games and scored the winning goals against Cardiff City and Preston North End.

Atkinson follows in the footsteps of Nahki Wells, George Tanner and Max O'Leary, who have committed their futures to the club in recent months. O'Leary and Tanner both signed deals keeping them at Ashton Gate until 2026, whilst Bermuda international Wells is here until 2025.

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Andy King, Jay Dasilva and Tomas Kalas are just three current members of the playing squad who are out of contract at the end of the season. The preference is for King to stay at the club because he holds a coaching role, but a decision has not yet been made public about the future of former Chelsea loanees Dasilva and Kalas.

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