Nigel Pearson has played down talk of extending his contract at Bristol City past next summer, following the Robins’ stellar upturn in form over recent months.
The 59-year-olds side were on a 12-match unbeaten run prior to the visit of Manchester City in the FA Cup on Tuesday, and despite going down 3-0 losers, the Robins’ impressive showing against Pep Guardiola’s men earned them heavy praise.
Not only have performances, and more importantly results, been much improved of late, Pearson’s positive work off the pitch in reducing the wage bill and crafting a better culture has seen large parts of the fanbase calling for the veteran to stay past when his current contract expires.
Pearson recently celebrated two years in charge of City, with his current deal set to lapse at the end of the 2023/24 season.
When quizzed on whether there has been any talk of extending his stay, Pearson said: “No, and there doesn’t need to be either, I've got more than a year left and I'm a realist so I know things can change quickly as they have done this year. I'm very comfortable in my own skin so to speak, so I don’t think it’s something that we need to be talking about publically.
“A year is probably more than the average tenure of a manager these days, so what's the point in talking about contracts at the moment? I hope the club trust me to keep doing the job that I always strive to do and I'm very calm about the situation.”
The last three months are the perfect example of what a rollercoaster ride football management can be. On Boxing Day, Pearson was hounded with boos as another sub-par performance from City saw them succumb to a 2-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion - a result that saw them stretch their winless home run to seven.
Since then, consistently positive and gritty performances have provided a real buzz around BS3, which has led to the recent whispers about Pearson’s longer-term future.
City owner Jon Lansdown spoke on the possibility of Pearson extending his stay to BBC Radio Bristol recently, and insisted he doesn’t want to make any decisions just yet. The owner said: “Not at the moment... He still has plenty of his contract left in that sense, so it’s not something that has come up.”
At 59, Pearson is the third oldest manager in the Championship, behind just Neil Warnock and Mick McCarthy, and the manager was keen to talk about the many different variables that would go into such an important decision.
Though the supporters and other stakeholders affiliated with the club may want him to continue past next summer, the ways he feels is even more important.
He said: “It depends on how I feel in another year's time as well, I mean there are lots of things to consider and I’m a part of a team that’s working hard to try and more attractive but solid football foundation here.
“I think we just have to be sensible about how we look at it and I don’t really overthink the contract thing too much because football management is such a bizarre job to have in many ways. I’m very happy to be here.”