Nigel Pearson explains decision to drop Bristol City star and Massengo’s absence

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The 59-year-old made four changes to the team that was thumped 3-0 by Birmingham City last week

Nigel Pearson has explained his decision to start Max O’Leary for Bristol City against Preston End on Wednesday.

Pearson made four changes from the team that suffered a 3-0 defeat to Birmingham City on Saturday - the largest margin of defeat this season. Andy King, Han-Noah Massengo, Nahki Wells and Daniel Bentley dropped to the bench with Timm Klose, Joe Williams, Antoine Semenyo and O’Leary replacing them.

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As well as being the first-choice keeper, Bentley is the club captain and so dropping to the bench could be seen as a bold decision. The former Leicester City boss was willing to stand by that choice.

O’Leary had a spell as first-choice goalkeeper last year after displacing Bentley for a period. His appearance against the Lilywhites however was his first start since Swansea City away in February.

“When players get a chance it’s up to them,” he said. “At the weekend we had a difficult day at the back including the goalkeeper so Max gets a chance. I thought generally speaking he did really well.

“I’m not spending a lot of time worrying about that. It’s never easy to drop your captain, I make decisions that are right for the team and there’s nothing more to be said about that.”

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In a separate interview with BBC Radio Bristol, he spoke pre-match as to having to apply the same rules to the goalkeeper as other positions following the display at Birmingham.

“I’m not feeling in the mood to be overly charitable and think about how individuals are feeling, they have to deal with it.

“We’ve now got three goalkeepers who are in serious contention for the top spot. What I can’t do is I can’t have rules for some and not for others. The game at Birmingham was a difficult day for us and I think it’s time to make a change.”

Han-Noah Massengo was completely absent from the match-day squad after starting against Birmingham. Under-21’s midfielder Dylan Kadji was preferred ahead of him.

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The 21-year-old is out of contract in the summer and was not carrying an injury, with Kadji simply preferred to the French midfielder when it came to ann

Pearson said: “No, I just decided that Dylan gets the nod above him..

Another one of the changes that was made was the return of centre-back Timm Klose, who made his first league start of the campaign. He started in the middle with Zak Vyner to the right of him and two-goal hero Robert Atkinson to his left.

The 34-year-old has been nursing an injury as of late and missed a spell of seven consecutive games before being named as a substitute last Saturday but wasn’t introduced.

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Klose was almost ever present when he joined in January earlier this year, but the arrival of Kal Naismith along with the form of Vyner, has also kept him out of the side.

Given his experience with Norwich City in both the Championship and the Premier League however, he was able to perform well when called upon on Wednesday evening

“He headed the ball for a start,” Pearson said.

“Timm is an experienced player, I would expect him to come in and have a positive influence.

“He’s been missing since the start of the season, we’re in October and it’s nice to have him available. I thought he did okay tonight.”

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