Callum O’Dowda talks with manager Nigel Pearson - but the winger may be leaving Ashton Gate.
Bristol City have held talks with winger Callum O’Dowda over a new contract, albeit on reduced terms than the 23-cap Republic of Ireland international is on currently.
As per last summer, the Robins are working hard to reduce their wage bill. Andi Weimann and Nathan Baker were successfully retained a year ago when the West Country club renegotiated their contracts.
However BristolWorld understands that there is significant interest from other Championship sides in O’Dowda and the player is reviewing his options, with his deal ending this summer.
City are not taking up the one-year extension option in the player’s contract but talks have taken place at extending the stay of the longest serving player at the club (albeit Baker’s spell on loan at Bristol City before that). No final decision has been made on O’Dowda’s future just yet, at the time of writing.
Meanwhile Bristol City have an interest in former midfielder Marlon Pack, who has left Cardiff City on a free transfer.
As first reported by Bristol Live, manager Nigel Pearson sees Pack as someone who can contribute in the middle of the pitch and he is one of several options being considered, with a defensive midfielder wanted this summer.
Pack, of course, needs no introduction to Bristol City fans after his six years at Ashton Gate from 2013-2019 and although it has been a tough campaign over the Severn Bridge for the Bluebirds, the 31-year-old made 26 appearances across the season, as he was in and out of manager Steve Morison’s side.
He did not feature in any league games following the 3-2 loss to Bristol City in late January, and announced his departure from the Welsh side on social media this week.
His potential leadership skills would be of benefit to the Bristol City changing room, where several young players - such as Alex Scott, Ayman Benarous and others - might learn from the veteran midfielder.
A deal is not advanced however and there is interest from other teams.
The Robins do not have much money to spend this summer and are eying the free transfer market, with Pearson having held talks with soon-to-be free agent Mark Sykes recently, as the right-sided player eyes up his options should he leave Oxford United this summer.
Meanwhile, Bristol City may also recruit a centre-back this summer too. Contract talks with Timm Klose and Robbie Cundy have continued and there is confidence in BS3 that both will complete new deals on fresh terms.
But what happens with fellow centre-back Baker this summer may influence whether another defender is needed.
Baker has not played since being withdrawn in the 62nd minute of the 2-0 loss to Sheffield United late last November, after receiving a head knock.
CEO Richard Gould explained recently to BBC Radio Bristol that what happens next with the former Aston Villa defender would ‘crystallise’ over the coming weeks.
“It’s a really difficult situation because of that injury he suffered at Sheffield United in the snow,” Gould told Geoff Twentyman on BBC Radio Bristol’s pre-match show on the final day of the league season.
“That’s still being worked through. When it comes to head injuries, you see it’s a really major topic at the moment and we need to take things very slowly.
“We do not want to rush things. That’s a decision that will crystallise as we head towards the summer,” said Gould.
Bristol City have been linked with Derby County’s Curtis Davies but the defender has already signalled his intention to remain at Pride Park, with manager Wayne Rooney also explaining that no players want to leave the now League One side this summer.
No transfer is expected unless the Rams run into financial difficulties, as US businessman Chris Kirchner looks to complete his takeover of the East Midlands outfit.
The Robins are expected to sell Zak Vyner, Taylor Moore and Kasey Palmer this summer, if deals can be done for those players, who have been given limited first-team football chances at Ashton Gate in the second half of the 2021/22 season (and were not around in Moore’s case).
And the club’s Retained List is due any time in the next week, with EFL rules giving sides until 21 May to publicise their intentions. Andy King is another player expected to remain at the club this summer.