Kane Wilson injury latest: Nigel Pearson confirms status of Bristol City summer signing
Wilson will have to continue his recovery if he is to be in consideration for Bristol City
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Nigel Pearson says that Kane Wilson is not yet in consideration for a place in Bristol City's match-day squad, as he continues his recovery from a long-term injury.
The 22-year-old jarred his knee after coming on as a substitute against QPR in October, and shortly after required surgery which has kept him sidelined. Wilson started training ground work last month, and last Sunday played an hour for the Under-21's in their win over Everton.
It is unlikely however that the summer signing will be part of the match-day squad against Norwich City, with his manager wanting him to build up his match fitness, which is likely to come in more games for Ali Hines side. After the conclusion of the Norwich fixture on Saturday, there will be 16 games left in the season, and it will be a carefully managed decision before Wilson is back in consideration for selection in the Championship.
"Kane not really, just because he's got a lot of catching up to do," he responded when asked if Wilson would be in consideration for Saturday's clash with Norwich. "In terms of his training load, he's still quite a bit short.
"He's had feedback from the staff today about that. For him to be included in the squad, he's going to have to be a lot more robust and especially with the type of injury he has sustained.
"You can't go into games and training sessions without the right level of fitness, he'll have to continue to work hard. He's worked hard to get back and now he's going to have to make sure he continues to train in a way that gives him a better chance of having a positive impact when he is included. There is still plenty of time left in the season for that."
He is still yet to start a Championship match for City, and was limited to only substitute appearances in the league before he suffered his injury. To date, he has played six times across all competitions, playing 235 minutes, with only 74 in the league, and four cameos off of the bench. At the start of the league campaign, midfielder Mark Sykes was preferred to him in his wing-back role, and when Sykes was unavailable, talented teenager Alex Scott was preferred to him.
Wilson had a positive pre-season for the Robins, but was unable to force his way into the starting 11, but the competitor for the role has now changed, with a change in system. In the last month, City have gone from a back five to a back four, and now George Tanner is the player that Wilson when he is fully recovered will have to displace. Tanner's story is similar to Wilson in that his first year, he suffered several injury set-backs and was deemed one for the future, and now he is holding his own in the position.
"It's always good for a player to make that first step to make that competitive game at whatever level and the type of injury he has had,” Pearson said about Wilson’s recent appearance against Everton. “He's sustained an injury he will have to manage through the rest of his career now. Many players have had that sort of injury and have managed it successfully.
"He's playing catch-up and for him the frustrations of how the season started after having a positive pre-season it's not always easy to deal with. It's always more obvious to concentrate on the players who are in the side and have an understanding of where they're at.”
A year ago, Wilson was competing for the League Two title with Forest Green Rovers and was a huge part of their success. He won the Player of the Season award after a stellar season at right wing-back and was also named in the Team of the Season. In 2023 however, he is two divisions above where he was last year, and has so far had to deal with several setbacks during his eight months at the club.
Pearson added: "The players who aren't in the side or aren't close to being the side or being injured, they have other problems to deal with. "Some are psychological, some are physical management too.
"The recognition of players have to be equal to their peers, they have to be better than to force their way back in and make up for lost time, it's a difficult thing. We try and protect players by not being as careful but as through with the rehab, so when they come back it's about them being able to step into it without being worried too much about other things.
"When you have been out for a while with injury, the fact you have to think about things like you won't be as slick as a performer. It's really imperative for someone like him because he's someone who likes to play with a freedom and he has to be as fit as he can be and that's the bottom line."