What’s next for Bristol City’s young stars? Low, Taylor-Clarke, Kadji and more assessed
and live on Freeview channel 276
It’s been a season of progression for Bristol City across most departments.
The senior team secured their highest finish under Nigel Pearson and are approaching a bigsummer with plans already afoot for transfer recruits. The Robins are closing in on the signings of Joe Bryan and Ross McCorrie according to BristolLive and their arrivals will add some depth to what is a small squad.
A theme of this season was opportunities being given to academy players. The clubs season ticket marketing is based around players who are from Bristol or the surrounding area and are now living the dream of those in the city.
Sam Bell and Tommy Conway have enjoyed breakout campaigns, whilst Zak Vyner and Alex Scott have had seasons in which they were named Player of the Season by their peers and fans.
Supporters will always want new signings but how about those at the club? Can we expect to see anyone graduate to the senior squad?
Ali Hines’ side lost 4-0 to Sheffield United in their Professional Development League play-off and it left us to assess what’s next for his squad.
Wiles-Richards has been back-up to Max O’Leary since Dan Bentley’s departure. Pearson did admit that he would consider signing a goalkeeper but that it wasn’t a ‘priority position’.
We’ve yet to see Wiles-Richards play a competitive game for City but he did have some experience with Gloucester City this season. He’ll turn 21 this summer, and might want a loan move if Stefan Bajic comes back to displace him as number two.
Low’s season started at City and finished there too, as he was eligible to play following his loan spell at Walsall. The Wales U21 defender had a few appearances because of a defender shortage and impressed for the 21’s. He had a mixed loan spell in League Two and didn’t have the best of games against Sheffield United. Another loan move seems likely given the desire to recruit new centre-backs.
The season before last we saw Idehen get a taste of football at City but Pearson was keen to play down any expectations. Idehen got a loan move to Carlisle United, but it didn’t work out and he came back to the Under-21’s. He’ll be 21 in the summer so he can either have a final year in which he’s leading the team or get a loan move.
Wood appeared on the bench for the senior team a few times this season. He didn’t get an appearance but Pearson wanted a closer look. City are closing in on the signing of Joe Bryan and have Cam Pring in that position so Wood can either stick around the 21’s or look for a loan.
Leeson was an unused substitute for four matches towards the end of the season. Pearson wanted to take a closer look at some of the youngsters. He’ll be 20 in September, so we’ll expect him to stay around and hold down his spot in the team.
Returned to the squad after a six-month loan with Swindon Town. Kadji made 13 appearances in League Two which will be a good experience for him. You can expect the 19-year-old to get another loan move.
Taylor-Clarke is probably ahead of where Kadji is. It was Kadji who made the breakthrough at the start of the season but Taylor-Clarke got a better opportunity. The 19-year-old was handed a few starts and didn’t look out of place.
Nigel Pearson has spoken of his desire to recruit midfielders that can score so Taylor-Clarke may need to secure a loan in the Football League.
Morrison was on the bench in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup this season which is impressive. The 17-year-old left-winger is highly thought of and has a rapid development. He could be a big player for the Under-21’s next season.
One of three signings from Guernsey. Acey will have obvious comparisons with Alex Scott because of the connection with his best mate but he has a different path. He returned home for a brief loan spell and will hope to cement himself as a regular in the 21s.
Francois’ got a busy summer ahead of him after being called up by Australia to represent their Under-23’s in the Maurice Revello Tournament in France. A few cameo appearances in the FA Cup was a reward for being patient after injury and you’d expect him to either lead the U21’s or get a loan move.
Backwell had a brief spell with Bath City but didn’t make an appearance. The 19-year-old should stick around the Under-21’s next year and cement himself in the team.
Bristol-born Rose has already been at Southampton, Yeovil and Bristol Rovers but joined City at U16 level. He had a loan spell at Bath. Should be around the Under-21’s this year.
Yeboah came on as a substitute and was a handful for the Sheffield United defence. Yeboah scored the winning penalty to win the Gloucestershire Cup earlier this month and will be someone to keep an eye out for next season. He made his debut for the Under-23’s at the age of just 15 in 2021, and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares now he’s older.
Bell had a good spell last year and was spoken about by City expert Gregor MacGregor as someone who could be given a first-team opportunity. Bell’s versatility in defence to play at right-back and centre-back will put him in good stead for an opportunity should he be needed.
Came on as a substitute in the defeat to Sheffield United. Signed his first professional deal in March. He’s 17 and is central-attacking midfielder. He’ll be around the Under-21’s next season.
Palmer-Houlden had loans at Chippenham and Yeovil this season but couldn’t net a senior goal. He’ll be a player that probably leads the way for the Under-21’s, but if a good loan opportunity pops up, can take it.
Palmer-Houlden didn’t make an appearance against the Blades but is worth a mention.
Knight-Lebel was another that didn’t play but is spoken of highly. He was the Scholar of the Year at the club, and was also nominated for an EFL award.
He’s only 18 and has plenty of time on his side. Another season of Under-21’s football could do him some good.
Pearson made a few appearances for the Under-21’s whilst on loan at Wimbledon. He’ll be 22 this October, and could be one of the over-age players, but for his own development a permanent move to a League Two or National League club could be the best decision.
The brilliantly-named Casa-Grande has been Under-21’s a lot this season and helped them reach second. He had loan spells at Larkhall Athletic and Keynsham which will have been beneficial. Depending on if Wiles-Richards is third choice or moves out on loan he should be first choice.