Key Bristol City defender a doubt for Blackburn clash as Nigel Pearson discusses likelihood of position change

Bristol City may be unable to call upon the Czech Republic international for their away match at Blackburn Rovers this weekend

<p>Tomas Kalas’ run of 35 consecutive games is in doubt given some small injury issues. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)</p>

Tomas Kalas’ run of 35 consecutive games is in doubt given some small injury issues. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Bristol City defender Tomas Kalas could be set to miss out on the trip to Blackburn Rovers as he struggles with two injury issues.

Kalas suffered an injury in the 2-1 defeat to Birmingham City, taking a knock to his knee, as well as struggling with a groin issue.

His defensive partner Timm Klose has overcome a slight niggle that was reported last week and could play, but now he has emerged as the player who could miss out on the trip to Lancashire.

The 28-year-old has played in 35 of the Robins’ Championship matches this season with his only match missed being the opening day draw against Blackpool.

He has so far managed to get through slight problems such as coming off against Nottingham Forest, but now Saturday’s match could be one where he sits out.

Nigel Pearson may have to shuffle the pack in defence if Tomas Kalas is ruled unfit. (Photo by Cameron Smith/Getty Images)

“Tomas is struggling. He’s a doubt but we’ll see,” said manager Nigel Pearson. “He’s got a knock to his knee and he’s got a groin issue but we’ll see how he is.

“He’s a doubt for this weekend. Tomas is like a lot of players in our squad, he’s probably not at the top end of his game.”

As well as being one of the mainstays of City’s defence, he has also been involved with the Czech national team and was involved at last summer’s European Championships.

Kalas had featured 40 times for City before playing in all of the Czech Republic’s matches, which meant a lack of rest when he returned for club duty last summer.

Given how regular a figure he has been in the side this season, the task of maintaining a good level of consistency has been difficult given the mental and physical demands of elite-level football.

Should he be unable to make the trip to Ewood Park, Pearson has not viewed that as a negative as it opens up the opportunity to another player whilst also giving a small but much-needed rest to freshen up one of his most trusted players.

“To be fair to Tomas, you’ve got to remember he’s an international as well,” he said.

“He had no break last summer, he played most of the games last year, he played a full international programme, he did the same the year before.

“He’s had three years of continual football, matches, and training and he’s been more or less a regular for the national side.

“His mind and body probably needs a bit of a breather. If he misses out this week, it’s an opportunity for him to recover somewhat.

“I think you know what you’re gonna get from him in terms of commitment but everybody has a threshold in terms of ability to stay at a high standard. It’s something I as a manager am mindful of.”

Whilst his status for the match is in question, there was a suggestion that Kalas could be considered an option at right-back.

Last week, forward Sam Bell was tried in the position for the second time but encountered difficulties and was hauled off at half-time Centre midfielders Alex Scott and Ayman Benarous have also been tried there this season whilst out-and-out defender Zak Vyner hasn’t been considered for the role in recent weeks.

Kalas during the early stage of his career was played as a right-back at both Fulham and Middlesbrough, but at City, he has fronted a usual three-man defence.

The Czech defender has experience of playing as a full-back but as Pearson tries to plan for the long-term future of the team, it is not a position that he sees him playing in.

“Would I play Tomas as a wing-back? Who knows, you’d have to wait and see,” he said.

“You’d have to see whether away from home we set up differently and play five centre-backs and three defensive midfield players.

“I don’t really think that’s going to be a way of us making progressions apart from we might scrap out ugly results and I’d take some ugly results now. I think that would also limit him in areas where we’ve made huge strides this season.”