Bristol City manager on Queen Elizabeth, no fear of Burnley or Norwich and Conway praise

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City’s boss said it would have been ‘fantastic’ to hear the anthem sung around Ashton Gate

Nigel Pearson was disappointed Bristol City were unable to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth after their match with Preston North End was postponed.

The Robins’ match was called off on Friday morning after the English Football League postponed its match schedule for the weekend.

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City were due to play Preston at Ashton Gate but following the postponement, they will have had an 11-day break from when they last played.

Their home ground did host a match on Saturday but that was the Premiership Rugby opener between Bristol Bears and local rivals Bath.

The 59-year-old admitted that it would have been ‘brilliant’ to hear the national anthem sung around the stadium had the game gone ahead in a way to pay tribute to the long serving monarch.

In his pre-match interview for the match against Norwich on Robins TV, Pearson said: “We’re really disappointed we couldn’t play at the weekend.

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“It would have been a fabulous opportunity for us to continue our good form and our fans to celebrate the life of our monarch.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to do that and I think it would have been brilliant to have the national anthem ringing around Ashton Gate.”

There was no day off for City’s players despite the game not going ahead on the weekend as they prepared for their next two matches.

They instead reported to the High Performance Centre for a training session and played an intra-squad match of 22 players, in the hope of impessing the manager.

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City are on the road again after Wednesday’s trip to Norwich with another trip to Lancashire to face Burnley before pausing for the first international break of the campaign.

The club have sought plans to prepare for the match as best as possible given the short turnaround between matches and the long distance to be travelled.

Approaching the two matches, the boss admitted that there is no fear from himself or his players against two of the teams that were relegated from the Premier League last season.

He said: “We look forward to the two games that we have got. It’s two good sides, two sides that we will have to be at our best to win our game which is what we’re trying to do.

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“We’re not going into these games with any inferiority complex, it’s trying to measure ourselves. It’s good to see the players are in a positive mood.”

“We will be working as well as we can to make sure that preparation and recovery is as good as it can be. We have facilities to help us with that which is great.

“As far as I am concerned players look forward to playing the games, we’ll deal with the journeys because you have to play them.”

With only one match scheduled last week, five certified first-team players and those on the fringes made an appearance for the Under-21’s side.

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Timm Klose, as well as summer signing Kane Wilson, as well as Cameron Pring and back-up goalkeeper Max O’Leary all played in the narrow 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday.

Alex Ball’s side are in action at the HPC tomorrow afternoon as they hope to continue their unbeaten start against Severnside rivals Cardiff City.

Given the Norwich match is just a day later, as well as Burnley to contend with, there will be decisions to be made as what senior players feature against Cardiff and whether they will travel to Norfolk.

“Yeah possibly,” he said when asked if Stefan Bajic and other senior players could feature against the Bluebirds.

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“What is different from this week to last week is that we can’t really afford to expose too many players to an Under-21’s game with the two games coming up.

“We need to make sure everyone goes through a similar preparation this week so the match days so everyone is absolutely ready to play.

“It will be slightly different but the Under-21’s games programme is always an opportunity for those who are a bit short on pitch time to get some but on Saturday morning we had an 11 v 11 here for an hour which we made the most of the programme on the weekend.”

Pearson also reserved praise for the man-of-the-moment Tommy Conway, who was named the Young Player of the Month in the EFL, following in the footsteps of Steven Caulker and Tammy Abraham.

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Conway was prolific throughout the month of August, scoring six goals in 10 matches, which has him City’s top scorer for the month, whilst he has continued that into September with a goal at Ewood Park.

The 20-year-old is tied on four Championship goals with Nahki Wells, making him joint-third in the whole division, which is some journey from last season, where he had a limited role.

Despite his personal accolades, his manager has reminded him to focus on continuing his good form now he has risen to prominence in the team.

Pearson said: “It’s impressive but he takes a lot of credit for it himself because of how hard he works, he needs to keep his feet firmly on the floor and he will. His teammates won’t allow him not to, his teammates have been a big part of his development. It’s congratulations but now put it to one aside and start concentrating on us again because that is what it is about.

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“The accolades that come with achieving some success and some improvement is good to recognise but actually his career is in its very early days, we’ll see whether the weight of expectation affects him and hopefully it doesn’t.

“Hopefully he continues to recognise what has got him into the position he is in which is himself, he’s there on merit and I expect him to continue what has got him into the first place which is work hard and take his chances.”

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