The Bristol City contracts to be aware of this January transfer window as key decisions to be made
Robins may have several decisions to make next month as they weigh up their squad building moving forward
As Bristol City contemplate what to do in January to help their ailing league form, the club will also need to heed what happens with several members of the first-team squad out of contract in the summer.
The Robins have already explained that where possible, they will strengthen in the forthcoming transfer window, but there is little money to spend due to COVID-19 stopping crowds from attending the 2020/21 season.
While manager Nigel Pearson would like to upgrade his playing options, with City 18th in the Championship but with one of the worst defensive records in the division and having spoken about signing a new forward previously, reality may bite. There may be little to no activity.
Sales may help the situation and City may have to weigh up any approaches for their players. Especially if it’s for one of the following, who are out of contract in the summer and may be targeted by other clubs.
Chris Martin - has an optional extra year on his deal
The 33-year-old has been unfairly chastised by some City supporters who see the centre-forward position as one place where the club definitely needs more quality. But Martin has done well there this campaign, grabbing five goals and four assists in 23 games to date. Reliable Martin, playing in every league game so far, has proven a good foil to Andi Weimann, with the Austrian on course for his best goal return over a season yet.
With City planning to recruit in attack next summer, it would make little sense to let Martin leave now unless some real wheeling and dealing takes place. And the former Derby County man, who is the Championship’s sixth highest scorer of all time with 102 goals, could prove an effective support act next year given that wealth of experience.
Callum O’Dowda - has an optional extra year on his deal
The Irish winger and utility midfielder has not managed to tie down a starting spot in the City team after arriving in the summer of 2016, as his caps for his country have risen to 26.
Of late, it’s been a left wing-back role for manager Nigel Pearson, which is where Dean Holden saw the 26-year-old playing too.
No doubt Pearson rates the former Oxford United winger’s athleticism and running ability but just nine starts in 2021/22 hints at a lack of trust. Given that O’Dowda is moving towards his peak, it could be time for City to consider cashing in on the player and looking for a longer-term alternative with a higher talent ceiling.
Andy King - has an optional extra year on his deal
The former Leicester City midfielder has recommenced his midfield partnership with Matty James from his days with the Foxes, but there have been few outstanding displays in the middle of the pitch this term.
Out of contract next summer it would be a surprise to see another club make an approach for the 33-year-old in January, or for City to give the 50-cap Wales international another year after just seven starts so far and several injury problems since his arrival at Failand.
Simpson was unlucky to get injured late in summer 2020 meaning that he spent a long time recovering and without a club for much of 2020/21. A trial led to the former Premier League winner earning a deal to the end of the season, before another year-long contract was handed to the 34-year-old for this campaign.
Since then 22-year-old George Tanner has arrived and the ex-Carlisle United man looks to be the future right-back for City, with Simpson passing on advice for the rest of this campaign before a departure in summer 2022.
The 6ft5 centre-back has suffered with a knee injury this year, with no appearances in 2021/22 to date. As such, City will not have to field enquiries in January and will have a decision to make at the end of the campaign over Cundy’s future.
But loans at Gillingham and Cambridge United in 2020/21 showed that the former Bath City defender has ability. If his fitness can be regained then Cundy may yet prove a useful option at the back, where Bristol City have been found wanting this campaign.
Academy director Brian Tinnion played a key role in 24-year-old Cundy’s arrival at Ashton Gate in 2019, and there is hope in the club that Cundy can yet fulfill his potential and become another Aden-Flint-type presence at the back for the West Country side.
The City fans’ favourite memorably scored on his debut against Brentford in the final game of last season but has struggled to gain elite-level fitness, according to his manager.
A loan at Torquay United did not work out last season, nor at Stockport County, and given that Tommy Conway and Sam Bell appear to be ahead of 20-year-old Britton in the pecking order, a parting of the ways looks likely next year, as first-team football is sought.