Bristol City transfer notebook: Oxford United defender interest, Kane Wilson latest, more

Robins’ recruitment plans solidifying as attention turns to the 2022/23 season.

<p>Troy Parrott of Milton Keynes Dons challenges Elliott Moore of Oxford United.</p>

Troy Parrott of Milton Keynes Dons challenges Elliott Moore of Oxford United.

Bristol City have an interest in Oxford United defender Elliott Moore.

As revealed yesterday by BristolWorld, manager Nigel Pearson watched the U’s in action on Tuesday last week, as they beat MK Dons 1-0.

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And Pearson may have been impressed by what he saw as Yellows captain Moore kept a clean sheet in the game.

Pearson knows the 6ft5’ centre-back well already, with the former England U20 player having come through the youth ranks at Leicester City when Pearson was with the Foxes.

The central defender, who ranks exceptionally highly for aerial duels in League One (see Fevs Football Analytics tweet below), was part of Leicester’s under-18s side that reached the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup in 2014–15, Pearson’s last year at the King Power Stadium.

Moore also then went on loan to OH Leuven in Belgium from 2017-19, the same period that Pearson was in situ at the Belgian First Division A side.

The defender played 50 times for the now Bristol City manager, scoring six goals and even captaining his side.

He was made captain of Oxford United in December 2020 and did not miss a minute of playing time in League One last season, playing all 46 matches from start to finish. That leadership and availability will no doubt appeal to Pearson.

Manager Karl Robinson is on record as explaining that his 25-year-old skipper is out of contract this summer but that there is a one-year option that Oxford United can trigger.

“We have an option in Elliott Moore’s contract,” explained Robinson to the Oxford Mail in February.

“People are saying his contract’s up in the summer, so don’t worry about Elliott Moore – he will be here next year if we want to take that option up.”

Bristol City may have to pay a fee to land the player but the Robins did conduct successful business last summer to land Rob Atkinson from Oxford United for a fee of around £1.6m.

Pearson has spoken previously about it being a priority to strengthen at centre-back, and putting Atkinson alongside his former team-mate might be a good way of fostering an on-field relationship quickly too, as City look to build an effective Championship defence.

According to our sources, Pearson had an interest in three players in particular during the match at the Kassam Stadium last week, although one target was only on the bench that evening, believed to be left-back Steve Seddon.

Meanwhile, the Robins are leaning towards not entering the race for Forest Green Rovers wing-back Kane Wilson. Other sides have a stronger interest in the player, should the 22-year-old leave the promoted outfit this coming summer.

But Bristol City are set to hand a professional deal to young central defender Jamie Knight-Lebel, 17.

The former Fairfield High School pupil was recently called up by the Canada U20s squad - the country of his birth - and he played 45 minutes then 60 minutes in two friendlies against Costa Rica while away with coach Andrew Olivieri’s side for a training camp.

The Robins academy have been impressed by the centre-back who has been playing at U23s level already this season and the player will soon sign fresh terms.