Bristol City man’s injury anguish as ex-Portsmouth man reveals inspiration from teammate

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Pring only made his first Championship appearance of the season recently

Cameron Pring is determined to ‘prove people wrong’ following a lengthy spell out of favour at Bristol City in recent times.

Pring didn’t feature in any of the Robins’ first 12 EFL Championship matches this season, with Jay Dasilva preferred in the left-wing-back role. However, several injuries and illnesses in defence of late has left City thin on the ground at the back, and the 24-year-old has started the Robins’ last two matches.

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Pring was awarded Man of The Match in their 1-1 draw with Swansea City on Saturday, and got another 90 minutes under his belt in Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United. City’s availability issue has since worsened further due to George Tanner’s midweek sending off, therefore Pring looks set to start a third match in succession as Nigel Pearson’s side travel to Middlesbrough this weekend.

Pring, who signed a new deal in January, has had eight loan spells in six years while at the Robins, but his belief that he can play regularly in England’s second tier has never faltered. “That’s the one thing that keeps you going,” he said.

“For me personally, I feel like I am good enough to play. On a selfish note you kind of want to prove people wrong and say look, I am good enough to play and I do want to play every single minute of the season. You’ve just gotta keep pushing and keep going.”

His loan spells include stints at the likes of Guernsey, Hereford, Cheltenham Town, Walsall and Portsmouth, and Pring believes each of these experiences helped him deal with the mental challenges that come with not playing regularly. When asked what he has learnt most as a player and as a person from his time at various clubs, Pring replied:“Character building.

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“I feel like every loan spell has been a step up, so it’s not like I’ve been in LeagueTwo and gone straight into the Championship, it’s always been a gradual step up which has been good. But again, it’s character building. When I’ve been left out the team, trying not to get too frustrated because I’m away from home as well, and just keep plugging away.”

One man who has been ever present for City this season is Zak Vyner. Vyner, who in the summer came close to leaving the club, has also had a far from straightforward path into the first team. But, this season has been one of the Robins’ most reliable players, and Pring was keen to talk about how he looks up to the defender.

“I think Zak’s probably the motivation for all of us,” he said. “Because at the end of last season he wasn’t doing his best but now he’s showing to everyone that he’s miles above what he was last season. I think everyone wants to aspire to that level of pulling yourself out of that rut that you were in and becoming the main man at the back at the minute.”

Vyner has adopted more of a leadership role in recent weeks due to the absences of Kal Naismith, Tomas Kalas and Timm Klose. In what is likely new territory in terms of barking orders and dictating the defensive line, Pring was complimentary with how Vyner had helped both himself and Tanner adapt to playing out of position.

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He explained: “The two games I’ve played with him he’s been a leader. He’s constantly talking, constantly making me and George think about what we’re doing. I think that’s what you need with someone who’s in the middle of the back three.”

With three games to play until the World Cup break, the gap in domestic fixtures couldn’t have come at a worse time for Pring, who is just making strides to get back into consistent first team action.

An injury sustained in pre-season against former club Cheltenham was a major blow for a player that had a point to prove that summer. His recovery time meant he lost out on valuable pre-season preparations and as a result he missed opportunities.

“At the time it felt like one step forward and two steps back,” he said about the injury he suffered. “I felt like I started that preseason flying to be honest.

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“It was a massive setback and I think that took its toll on the opening games of the season and stuff like that. It’s definitely been a challenge getting back into the team and hopefully I can keep my place now.”

The defender said he will use the break to make sure he stays in the best shape possible and is confident that he can retain his place in the side following the tournament.

“I’m going to relax for a couple of weeks and then we’re back at it with some running. Whilst we’re away we get sent some running sessions to do. I’ll put my feet up, it’s a bit frustrating for me because obviously I’ve just got back in the team, I wouldn’t want to stop right now because I want to keep going.

“I hope when I get back, or this weekend for a start, that I can stay in the team and put myself in a good position for when I come back.”

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