Bristol City struck with injury blow as influential star to miss Norwich City clash
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Naismith was replaced by Joe Williams on the half-hour mark in the Robins' 2-1 win over Preston North End last Saturday. He took his place amongst the substitutes for the remainder of the match, and the early assessment is that Naismith will miss at least the Ashton Gate clash with the Canaries.
The 30-year-old made the switch from defence to midfield in January, and has provided defensive cover for the four-man defence as the anchor, working well alongside Matty James to compliment the attacking threat of Alex Scott. Naismith began the season as a left-sided centre-back, and also played at left-back against Rotherham, but the move to central midfield, has benefitted him and his teammates.
City will have to do without him for at least one match however, In his pre-match pres conference, Pearson said: ‘No, he's actually seeing somebody today to get a more extensive view on the severity of it.
"We’ll just have to see how that one is. It’s a similar sort of area to last time so no real update on that apart from that he won’t be available this week.”
Given Naismith's importance to the team, here is a hope that the injury is not as serious as the one he sustained in the earlier part of the season. In October, Naismith had a calf problem which had him sidelined for two months, and that coincided with a bad patch of form.
City operate with a small squad, and Williams is the next in line, should they remain with a four-man defence and three-man midfield. Andy King is an alternative option, and has put his injury problems behind him from last season, whilst Omar Taylor-Clarke could also step in after several cameo appearances in the FA Cup.
Williams is the most likely to be given the go-ahead given he came on against Preston, and has made several appearances off of the bench in recent weeks. His last start came in the 2-0 defeat to West Brom, playing 71 minutes and since then he has had to settle for a place amongst the subtitutes.
‘Hopefully it won't be," responded Pearson when asked if it could be similar to the injury Naismith sustained in October. I think for Kal, that’s probably been in his mind quite a bit so we'll try and get to the bottom of it.
"You just can’t rush these things so it’s about allowing him to deal with that and we'll get him back as soon as we can. As always with injuries, when we get them back, we want them to stay available, so it's not about trying to rush him back.
“He’s a good footballer, he’s bright and he’s played in lots of different positions. I don’t think with it being unfamiliar was a problem for him, he’s played in midfield before as he has with many other positions.
“Somebody like Joe Williams, has come on and made a positive influence for us in games and he gets his opportunity. When you’ve got a tight squad you never want to lose too many players or key players, but we’ll deal with it.
“I try not to worry about it because we work really hard to minimalise injuries and certainly you can control things in the training environment, you can’t control things in a game environment. It probably is no surprise in the sense we pick up an injury on probably the softest and worst pitch we’ve played this year. “It’s unfortunate in a game situation, but we’ll just deal with it.”