Nigel Pearson has emphasized the importance of Bristol City using the World Cup break effectively and hinted that they may dip into the January transfer market.
The Robins have three matches left before their month off while the tournament in Qatar takes place. They face an away trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday, followed by a midweek Carabao Cup fixture against Lincoln City, before they host Watford on Saturday, November 12. They will return to action with a trip to Rotherham on Saturday, December 10.
The gap in fixtures will provide the opportunity for the Robins to assess what transfer business, if any, they would like to do in the new year. While the club are unlikely to spend big due to limited funds, they may invest in the loan market.
Pearson said in a recent interview with Sky Sports that he would like to bring a ‘maverick’ into the team, and further stressed his keenness for players who ‘bring something a bit different’ at his pre-Middlebrough press conference, which is perhaps something that the Robins are currently lacking in terms of flair and personality.
When asked whether he would get some rest during the break or perhaps watch lower league matches in a scouting manner, Pearson replied: “It’s a bit of all of them, I think. It’s going to be an important time for us to prepare for the next window depending on whether we can or can’t do business. We’ve still got to do the groundwork on that, if we do business, I will want to do it immediately.
“I don’t want to do it at the end of January because it’s a waste of time and we’ll have wasted a month. If we do have aspirations to bring people in it makes sense to do it as early as possible. This build-up to the World Cup break or just until the window opens is always very important.”
Prior to the last international break in September, City had won six of their last 10 in all competitions and were playing fast-paced attacking football. The gap in fixtures seemed to halt their momentum somewhat, and since returning they’ve gone on a less emphatic run of just two wins in nine.
The Robins haven’t been helped by several injury problems as well as a recent illness circulating around the club, however, Pearson denied that he is welcoming the break.
“I’m just viewing it as it that it’s here and we will do our best to get as many people back as possible, It’s an opportunity but I don’t welcome it,” he said. “It just seems odd that we have a major competition mid-season but it is what it is. We will try and make the most of it, that’s for sure.”
Speaking at the clubs fans forum last week, the manager explained how his players will stay match-fit over the period, he also spoke about a potential friendly match before their return to Championship action – although nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
He explained: “They’ll have a bit of time off and they’ll then have programmes to do which they will do in their own time. They’ll have a week off and have some training programmes to do off-site which they would do in the close season and then we’ll have a mini pre-season. We’ll have a practice game before the season resumes, so that’s the plan.”