Bristol City forgotten man talks his resurgence and how close he was to leaving

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Zak Vyner has been ever present in the Championship for Bristol City this season

Zak Vyner has revealed he was close to leaving Bristol City in the summer, after a difficult 2021/22 campaign with the Robins.

The defender featured just once in Nigel Pearson’s sides last 14 Championship matches last term, which cast his long-term future at the club into doubt.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But, due to Tomas Kalas’ and Nathan Baker’s injury woes, Vyner has started all eight of their league fixtures so far this campaign and has cemented himself a place in the right-hand side of the back three.

Summer signing Kal Naismith has played every minute for the Robins this term, and some thought he might’ve been a replacement for Vyner when he signed from Luton Town.

Vyner admitted that departing the club that he has been at since the age of seven, was an option that was considered.

“Yes, there were conversations about that,” he said. “It was a conversation that we had, and we had to try and adapt to. For myself, I was coming in and didn’t want to have that conversation in my head when I was coming back to pre-season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I wanted to just make sure that I stayed focused on where I was going to be, and make sure I was in the fittest shape and the best shape I could’ve been for wherever that was going to be.”

His spell on the sidelines last season was difficult, but the 25-year-old was keen to prove himself and his doubters wrong.

“It was tough. Everyone wants to play football you know; everyone here wants to be playing and wants to be starting so absolutely it was tough to be watching more than playing,” he said.

“I had to look at myself, I had to look at every aspect of why I wasn’t playing and try and pick that apart.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Clean sheets were a big problem for the Robins last season, as they conceded the third most in the division. However, of late, there has generally been much greater stability at the back, as three home clean sheets in a row demonstrates.

Vyner, himself, is pleased with the progress he has shown in the opening six weeks of the season.

He said: “The defensive side of things, I’m not going to shy away from it, last year there were things I know I needed to improve on and this year I think I’ve looked a lot more solid, and I’ve felt more solid. I think also as a team we’ve been a little bit more solid and that helps.”

The number 26, who has had spells on loan at Accrington Stanley, Plymouth Argyle, Rotherham United and Aberdeen, recently made his 100th appearance for the West Country side in the win over Huddersfield Town - an achievement he is proud of.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “It was an amazing moment for me, my family were there, and it was great for them to sort of be a part of it, you know. I tried to treat it like any other game, but it was a proud moment for me and for them.

“I always wanted to get to 100 and kick on from there as well so it’s definitely something that I’m happy about and hopefully I can keep pushing on.”

Vyner graduated from City’s academy back in 2015, and several youngsters have followed his footsteps in recent times – including Alex Scott and Tommy Conway.

The defender was keen to praise the academy programme, and some of the top talent it continues to bring through, especially at a time when resources aren’t available to bring in players.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “In the last couple of years, we’ve had a lot of academy players training with us, a lot of the younger lads coming up and being around the first team and it’s great to see.

“There are some top-quality players as you’ve said. Tommy Conway now is getting the plaudits that we see every day you know. We’ve seen him score goals, we know he’s prolific and he’s getting the chance to do it on the weekend and he’s taking it.

“Scotty is just another one who’s come through and seamlessly got into the team, and it just looks like it’s easy for him out there, and we’ve got to make sure that also we still drive the standards. They’re both two that are on fire at the minute and long may it continue.

“About the academy, it’s clearly a great pathway for the club, and it’s amazing to see that there are a lot of younger players coming through that are getting given an opportunity.”

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.