Nigel Pearson’s hopes for Bristol City as international break offers much-needed relief

Bristol City have the chance to recover from a busy schedule thanks to the international break, but Nigel Pearson believes their recovery off the pitch is even more vital
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Nigel Pearson believes Bristol City will benefit from the international break after suggesting his players are suffering from mental fatigue.

The Robins recorded a fourth loss in six matches when they were defeated 2-0 by Swansea City on Sunday, which added to their recent losses against Luton Town, Cardiff City and Manchester City.

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With several key men out injured, the Robins have been forced to shuffle the pack over recent weeks, in what has been a busy schedule for the West Country side.

After a period of seven matches in 25 days, the Robins now have a 13-day break before their next match against Reading thanks to the international break.

Pearson was keen to emphasise the importance of the time off for different players within the squad: “This break now is about resetting and also for players to maximise. It’s probably more of a mental break, for our younger players in particular.

“We’ve got three groups within our squad, internationals who will go away and we will hope they come back fit, players who have played lots and lots of games and will need to recover, but they still have programmes of work to do, and we then have a smaller group who need to do some work because they’re playing catch-up.”

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The break will allow the likes of Kal Naismith, Tommy Conway and Matty James to make strides in their recoveries from injury setbacks, and Pearson revealed that he ‘expects’ the trio to be available for the clash against the Royals on Saturday, April 1.

City used last December’s World Cup break very effectively and were able to kickstart a run of positive performances and results that has largely continued since the new year.

Though the upcoming break is much shorter, it will still provide a valuable opportunity for the Robins to re-group before one final push to end their season strongly.

Pearson continued: “It’s not a big break this time around but what it gives is a chance for players and staff alike to come in with a renewed enthusiasm to work and push on from here. It’s what it is about.”

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City’s injury woes have seen a slight tweak in formation at times in their last two matches against the Hatters and Swansea, as Pearson’s side switched to a diamond shape in midfield.

Though the tactical switch hasn’t worked out in their favour, the manager insisted that the reason for that is most likely the tiredness of his players.

“The formation change, we’ve got players that are capable of doing it. They are bright enough and there are things you can work out, in the last two games the things that have not worked are basically because of decision-making. I would suggest more that is down to mental fatigue.”

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