‘We will only...’ - Bristol City boss issues instruction to Stoke City over Dan Bentley interest

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Dan Bentley is a reported target for Stoke City - but how likely is a move away from Bristol City?

Nigel Pearson says Bristol City are ‘trying to change the squad’ as the halfway stage of the January transfer window nears.

The Robins are yet to make any signings so far this month and have sold young defender Ryley Towler to Portsmouth. Joe Low has also joined Walsall on loan.

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City’s lack of funds to spend on signings has been well documented, as the club’s priority of reducing their wage bill to free up money carries on.

Nahki Wells recently signed a contract extension at the club and took a pay cut in doing so, while three first-team members have been told that they won’t be receiving new contract offers when theirs expire in the summer.

The Robins were heavily linked with Reda Khadra following his return to Brighton after an unsuccessful spell at Sheffield United, however, City’s financial situation prevented them from making a move for the German, who subsequently joined Birmingham City from the Seagulls last week, to Robins fan's frustration.

Pearson said: “We are trying to change the squad; I know it’s been frustrating for a lot of people as it has been for us internally too in terms of the rate, but we can do it.

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Reda Khadra in action for Germany under-21s against Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher Reda Khadra in action for Germany under-21s against Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher
Reda Khadra in action for Germany under-21s against Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher | Getty Images

“It’s part of the job and we’ve made some huge changes to the financial climate that we’re working towards, the wage bill etc and we’ve just got to keep trying to make the best out of what we’ve got until we can make those changes.”

As the club seek to ship players off in order to recruit, the manager confirmed that Timm Klose is free to leave the club and that Chris Martin’s future in the West Country is also in doubt.

Club captain Daniel Bentley hasn’t featured for Pearson’s side since October, and there have been rumours over recent days linking the ex-Brentford man with a move to Stoke City.

When asked whether the club would consider a serious offer for Bentley, Pearson said: “It depends on what you call a serious offer. You would be very, very surprised by what clubs deem to be reasonable offers. Let’s put it like this, we will only move players if it’s in our interest to do it, or if we feel it’s a fair situation.”

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The 59-year-old may be wary about shipping out too many bodies if the club aren’t certain they can bring in replacements.

Young goalkeeper Stefan Bajic was out injured earlier in the season, while injuries to Tommy Conway and Andi Weimann in last weekend’s FA Cup match against Swansea City show how quickly squad situations can change.

“What we don’t want to do is leave ourselves short either,” he said. “We picked two injuries up last week and we’ve already talked today about how it affects the squad, so it doesn’t take too much imagination to then expand that to what it looks like when you pick up more injuries.

“We’ve done exceptionally well to keep the squad as available as we have, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into that both with the medical sports science team and also how we schedule training and there are lots of other factors too and the players input into that is massive too.”

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