Nigel Pearson sends rousing message to Bristol City squad

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The Bristol City boss has sent a message to his troops about the importance of always being ready to step up

Nigel Pearson says that Bristol City’s substitutes are equally important as those who start after being displeased with their performance in midweek.

The Robins boss expected more from those who came off the bench in the 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United. Sheffield United made a positive change with James McAtee coming off the bench after half-time to score the winner whilst for City’s changes, they struggled to make an impact.

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Tommy Conway and Mark Sykes came on just after the hour whilst Alex Scott came on with just more than 15 minutes left, but McAtee netted not long after Scott’s introduction. Anis Mehmeti was brought on for George Tanner in an attacking change but was partly exempt from criticism.

"They knew after the game," when asked if there had been further discussions between himself and those who came off the bench on Tuesday.

"It’s not something we have spent a lot of time over. Let’s be honest, those players have been excellent this season generally. It’s just important in those types of games where we don’t make substitutions either to keep people happy.

"We do it because it should add something to the team or give an injection of energy or a different type of quality. Sometimes you make substitutions to sure things up, or try to push on. It is why it is always important a squad of players don’t just see the starting 11 as the most important players. They just happen to be starting the game, but the players are on the bench are as important.”

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Most of City’s changes have been players that have been recovering from injury with Conway yet to complete a full match. He had been out since January with a hamstring tendon injury, and returned with a goal and start against Reading, but has since had to settle for numerous cameo appearances.

Alex Scott returned last week against Watford after a knee ligament injury ruled him out for three matches, but could only hit the wall with a free-kick. Mark Sykes meanwhile had been suspended for four matches, but could not affect the game like he has done this season.

Their futures are at least secure for another season, though in Scott’s case there is transfer speculation from Premier League clubs. City have the likes of Andy King, Jay Dasilva and Tomas Kalas out of contract at the end of the season, but the manager is not yet willing to disclose their status with the public, until the players themselves have been consulted.

“Most players do,” he said. There are still question marks on one or two, and we’ll just have to see how things move over the next few weeks.

“The players need to know first, I’m not going to speculate over those types of issues really.”

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