Matty James absence for Bristol City explained by Nigel Pearson after missing Blackpool win

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The 31-year-old does not feature against Blackpool after failing a fitness test

Nigel Pearson has revealed that Bristol City are being careful with Matty James after the midfielder missed Saturday's Championship clash with Blackpool.

In midweek, the 59-year-old admitted that James was doubtful after picking up an ankle injury against Huddersfield Town on Tuesday and that he would need to be assessed. The former Leicester City midfielder picked up the injury in the first-half, but managed to play the entire match, but after a further assessment has been made to sit out today's match with the Tangerines at Ashton Gate with Andi Weimann replacing him.

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James had started 24-matches in succession after returning from injury in October and has been influential to the unbeaten run, being described as an unsung hero. The 31-year-old has been captain with Weimann kept out of the side and has won the man-of-the-match award, decided by supporters on several occasions.

City’s midfield options are limited with Kal Naismith sidelined until early April, and Joe Williams has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Naismith has a calf injury and Williams injured his hamstring against Cardiff, which forced Pearson to play Alex Scott in a deeper role alongside Alex Scott, with Omar Taylor-Clarke as back-up should any further injuries happen.

Pearson said to the club's official media channel Robins TV: "Matty trained yesterday but he was too uncomfortable and it’s one that we need to be careful of.

"He’s been a big player for us recently and has been all season. It’s important we try and get him back as soon as possible. I think today will have been too big a risk."

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Nigel Pearson made two changes to the starting line-up for the visit of Blackpool with Anis Memeti replacing Sam Bell and Weimann coming in for James. He also named a new name amongst the substitutes with Callum Wood joining seven other academy graduates in the squad.

Wood, who hails from Hereford, is a left-back and will provide cover to Jay Dasilva, who has been given that opportunity because Cameron Pring has been made to play centre-back. The 20-year-old’s experience in the senior game is loans in the non-league with Bath City and nearby Yate Town.

He has trained with his teammates previously, but it wasn’t until the morning of the game that the two-time Wales Under-19 international was notified he would be involved. Pearson admitted that he is not afraid to give him his debut should he need to be called upon today.

“Callum, he didn’t know he was going to be on the bench until today,” revealed Pearson. I just think that is good for him, he’s trained with us quite a lot over a period of time. Maybe not as much as some of the others, but when he does come with us he always does well.

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“If we need him I don’t have any worries about exposing some of these youngsters just because they are used to being around the first-team environment and we have good senior players. Those things together mean it’s not as big a risk at times than blooding them when they’re unaccustomed to their teammates.”

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