‘Tenacious’: What Nigel Pearson said about Bristol City debutant Omar Taylor-Clarke

Another one of Bristol City’s talented academy members made their graduation to the first-team with a debut against Swansea City in the FA Cup.

Nigel Pearson had no qualms in giving Omar Taylor-Clarke his Bristol City debut as he came on in the 2-1 win over Swansea City in the FA Cup.

Taylor-Clarke made his first competitive outing for the Robins as he replaced Kal Naismith in the first-half of extra time, with the score level at 1-1 after Oli Cooper had cancelled out Mark Sykes second-half opener. Taylor-Clarke, a relative newcomer to the game replaced Naismith, who has a vast amount of Football League experience but the midfielder was up for the task and performed well when called upon.

It was a superb night for the academy as graduate Sam Bell scored his first goal for the club, topping off a fine performance after supplying Sykes for his goal. Bell scored with a sublime finish, scoring with composure in front of his own supporters.

Taylor-Clake had been in the Under-21's last week as a wing-back against Cardiff City, but played his more natural position as midfield. He came on with just over 20 minutes left and came up against World Cup midfielder Joe Allen, as well as the experienced Jay Fulton. He had a part to play after coming on to sit at the top of the midfield with Andy King and Joe Williams playing as holding midfielders. The 19-year-old made a positive influence and made a crunching tackle in his first moment of the match which set the tone for his performance.

“I think he was surprised he got an opportunity but we wanted to optimise the substitute situation,” said Pearson. “Omar is a slightly different style of player to Dylan (Kadjki). Dylan is a bit more languid and Omar is a real tenacious tackler.

“We decided to put him higher up and Joe back with Kingy and just let him loose on them. He got plenty of tackles in his short cameo appearance.

“I’m pleased with how the players who went on made a really positive impact on the game and that’s what you need with a squad. Players sometimes get opportunities when they least expect it and they’ve got to be able to take it.”

Under Pearson's tenure, Bristol City have blooded several of their academy graduates, and Taylor-Clarke's competitive debut was another in the conveyor belt of talent in the West Country. Technical director Brian Tinnion has been credited for the role he has played in providing youngsters who have been able to deal with the challenges of senior level football.

Before Taylor-Clarke entered the pitch, he received a brief word from the manager, who didn't provide him with any special treatment. The 59-year-old instead took the approach to treat the young Welsh midfielder as one of the senior players, instructing him to just carry out what was expected of him.

“Just go out there and do your job,” responded Pearson when asked if he was given any pep talk before he entered the pitch.

“If you’re involved with the first-team environment, you’ve got to just deal with the first-team. His two mates helped him but I wouldn’t put him on if I didn’t think he could do the job.

“It’s not a publicity stunt when you blood players. We thought his style of play would suit the game. We need energy and it was a good time for him to go on. He’s been training with the first-team for quite a while now and so he knows what is expected of him in that position.

“I’m delighted for him and I’m delighted for our academy because it’s another good story. It’s not about doing it for the sake of it. It’s about doing it because we think he can have a positive impact and so it is good for him.”