Nigel Pearson makes ‘struggling’ injury admission over Bristol City defender Kal Naismith

Nigel Pearson’s preparations for Swansea City have been difficult with injuries and illness amongst the Bristol City squad.

Nigel Pearson insisted Bristol City will have to be ‘patient’ while Kal Naismith recovers from a calf injury.

The defender was taken off after 38 minutes in the Robins’ 0-0 draw against Coventry City at the start of the month and was set to be out for just 10 days. However, almost three weeks later, Naismith is yet to return to the matchday squad as his elongated recovery continues.

The injury has given Timm Klose the opportunity to retain a role in the middle of the back three, with the ever-present pair of Rob Atkinson and Zak Vyner on either side of the Swiss veteran. Klose has provided a steady head at the back and has been a reliable figure in recent matches, but what he doesn’t possess is the on-the-ball ability of Naismith.

When asked whether his side have missed the Scottish defender, Pearson replied: “The answer to that is yes. The fact that you asked the question would probably reflect that answer too.

“Sometimes you don’t realise players until they are not there. I think that is a sign of a good player. Players go out there and do a good job for the team, they don’t necessarily have to be the most eye-catching at times.

“I think Kal plays with a very positive intent with everything he does. He’s a good organiser too and motivated. We’ve undoubtedly missed his presence in the team but he is still with us and he is still a very important character around the dressing room and the training ground.”

Up until his injury, Naismith had played every minute of the Robins’ 13 matches in all competitions this term. His composure and ability to pick a pass was a big part of City’s positive start to the season, and although a couple of brief lapses of concentration cost his side at times, his importance to the way City play cannot be understated.

Saturday’s derby match against Swansea City will come too soon for Naismith, and the manager was keen not to put a date on his potential return to action.

“I just feel for him because what looked like a relatively straight forward injury to deal with, he is struggling to really make steps forward and that’s a frustration for him and us.

“It’s not necessarily a severe one but he’s struggling with the amount of loan we can put through him. You can’t argue with the body’s reaction, we’re going to have to be patient.”

Pearson isn’t helped by another absence at the back, with Tomas Kalas side-lined again. Kalas missed 29 games for City after he suffered a groin injury in early March, and while the Czech centre-back returned against Millwall earlier this month, he has since been handed another setback with a similar injury.

“Tomas has had a very frustrating time,” Pearson said. “He has a calf injury, but we don’t think it will be something that keeps him out for long. What you also have to be mindful of is that he has been out for a while now. It was an injury with some disruption to the calf area with scarring from the operation.

“I’m not a medical man and I can’t give you too much detail, but we can’t be overly careful as Tomas is desperate to get back. Hopefully, we will get him back in the next couple of weeks maybe.”

Slim numbers in defence have meant that several members of the Under-21 squad have trained with the senior side this week, including Raphael Araoye, Joe Low and Jamie Knight-Lebel. Midfielder Omar Taylor-Clarke is also brushing shoulders with the likes of Joe Williams

The illness that has affected three members of the squad has gone through three of the major four areas of the team and all will be monitored.

He added: “The three players who have been ill this week have been back in today and done some training but it’s too early to make a call on them so we’ll see how it looks.

"We've had a defender out this week, a midfield player and a forward player this week. So there you go, it covers every department and makes us short in one area in particular. Which obviously would be the defence."

It will be interesting to see whom the 59-year-old selects in defence against the Swans, as he hinted earlier in the week that there may be a couple of surprise inclusions due to injuries and illnesses.