Bristol City star hints at a return from injury although Nigel Pearson may have other ideas

Key Robins midfielder is not far from a return to action after another layoff due to a hamstring problem.

Bristol City midfielder Joe Williams has hinted that he is close to a return from injury with a positive Instagram social media post.

“Is the break over yet [emoji] looking forward to the last seven games and finishing the season as strong as possible, see you all back at Ashton Gate soon,” he wrote.

The former Wigan Athletic midfielder was taken off during the loss at Barnsley having been brought on as a substitute for just 16 minutes.

And he then missed City’s final game before the international break, the 2-2 draw against West Brom, after it was confirmed that he had sustained another hamstring injury: his third this season, and fourth injury overall.

Manager Nigel Pearson had been hoping to rest Williams after the 25-year-old played the full 90 minutes in the 0-1 victory at Blackburn Rovers just three days before.

However, an early injury to Alex Scott at Oakwell saw Williams come off the bench in the 39th minute, but then succumb to injury himself just a quarter of an hour of playing time later.

Now it appears that Williams is ready to return, after Pearson declared that the former Everton youth player would be missing for “three to four weeks”.

The Bristol City boss has already explained that should Williams return to action that he will be carefully nursed and that midweek games will not be a possibility (although City only have one game between now and the end of the season in midweek: on Easter Monday, coming after their Good Friday fixture at Stoke City).

“Alex [Scott] always gets something during the game, it’s just the way he plays but he’s ok. He’ll be training with us today,” Pearson said on Thursday last week.

“Joe will be missing for two or three weeks which is good because it’s not as bad as last time. We always know there is a risk with players who have had previous hamstring injuries - that’s why he was left out of the starting 11 - but unfortunately he went on and got injured.

“At least it’s not going to be a long term situation for Joe and I’m really pleased for him about that,” the manager added, explaining later that midweek games would be too much this season, but that the club hoped to have Williams fully available and fit for season 2022/23.

City play at Bournemouth on Saturday before hosting Peterborough on 9 April, which may be a more realistic game for Williams to be involved in again, even if only from the bench.

Williams has made nine starts in the league this season and come off the bench a further nine times, totalling 930 minutes of action, with a further 39 coming in the League Cup last August.

It follows just a single hour of playing time in the league for City in 2020/21.

The all-action midfielder has become a fans’ favourite when he does play, however, with his combative style and quality passing important attributes. He has two assists this season.