We should probably start this article with a disclaimer: the chances of Bristol City doing any further business between now and January is unlikely given the financial restrictions and the fact that Nigel Pearson appears relatively happy with his squad.
City added four new players over the summer window in Andy King, Matty James, Rob Atkinson and George Tanner, re-signed Nathan Baker and Andi Weimann and Danny Simpson signed new contracts.
Weimann, Chris Martin and Antoine Semenyo have recovered from long-term injuries, , with Joe Williams and Callum O’Dowda not far from being declared fit, plus Alex Scott and Cam Pring have emerged as credible and reliable first-team options.
Pearson’s squad options are certainly healthier and more definite than at the tail-end of the 2020/21 season with a lengthy injury list and uncertainty around so many individuals’ future, having an obvious impact on performances.
But it’s now four months until the January transfer window opens and, in a punishing schedule, even with Dave Rennie on board, the idea of further injuries to key players cannot be discounted plus the Robins were unable to secure that fifth and final transfer Pearson craved in June.
The City manager declared he wanted two centre-backs, two central midfielders and a striker; if you count Baker, he secured the first four but not the latter, despite a number of players considered, which leaves Chris Martin as his only true senior No9.
Should the 32-year-old sustain an injury, Pearson’s options are Nahki Wells – who he hasn’t seemed willing to deploy as a lone striker – academy quartet Sam Bell, Louis Britton, Saikou Janneh and Tommy Conway and then Weimann and Semenyo in withdrawn roles.
The free agent market cannot be discounted given the potential need for an emergency and short-term signings, as Lee Johnson used during the 2019/20 when Benik Afobe suffered his crushing ACL in September, with Rodri drafted in as cover.
Pearson, so far, has consistently shown an inclination to mine the academy for replacements and solutions but there are enough names on this list who, if the finances are right, could also be considered. The most recent club of each player is in brackets.
As Pearson has previously said, City are “blessed” in the goalkeeper department with an excellent No1 in captain Dan Bentley and strong replacement with Max O’Leary.
Harvey Wiles-Richards has been promoted to No3 but the 19-year-old has only been part of the first-team set-up for a few months and the breadth of experience below could make the Robins manager rethink the hierarchy should something long-term happen to Bentley.
- Lee Camp (Swindon Town)
- Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday)
- Frank Fielding (Millwall)
- Abdoulaye Diallo (Nottingham Forest)
- Jamal Blackman (Chelsea)
Emmanuel Idem ( Derby County)
With Taylor Moore’s loan departure, City have three first-choice centre-backs plus Robbie Cundy and Zak Vyner as a fifth option and also Ryley Towler, it’s solid but does lack some depth if, to labour on a point, the worst-case scenario was to play out.
At full-back, with Vyner and Danny Simpson now in competition with Tanner at right-back and Jay Dasilva and Cam Pring over on the left, with Callum O’Dowda also a possibility, the Robins look pretty well-stocked at full-back.
- Martin Cranie (Luton Town)
- Billy Jones (Rotherham)
- Adrian Mariappa (Bristol City)
- Kean Bryan (Sheffield United)
- Neil Taylor (Aston Villa)
- Andre Wisdom (Derby County)
- Marc Navarro (Watford)
Jordon Thompson (Coventry City)
Brandon Mason (Coventry City)
If there’s one department where the Robins look set for the season it’s central midfield. Pearson has been able to release an international in Adam Nagy and it’s had little obvious impact on the players at his disposal.
King, James, Han-Noah Massengo (who’s looked exceptional so far), Tyreeq Bakinson, Williams and James Morton plus Vyner, who operated there last season. It would take some freak turn of events for any of the below to be considered.
- Carlos Sanchez (Watford)
- Mo Besic (Everton)
- Jack Wilshere (AFC Bournemouth)
- Samba Sow (Nottingham Forest)
- Dan Crowley (Birmingham City)
- Kadeem Harris (Sheffield Wednesday)
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With O’Dowda injured, there aren’t a huge number of orthodox wingers at the club; Pring has been impressive in his early performances for the Robins and Semenyo offers an outlet on the right with Weimann operating in a more central role.
Along with a centre-forward, it was perhaps the one area of weakness in this squad that could have done with some reinforcing over the summer.
- Jerome Sinclair (Watford)
- Wayne Routledge (Swansea City)
- Florian Jozefzoon (Derby County)
- Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Middlesbrough)
- Jordon Ibe (Derby County)
Aramide Oteh (QPR)
We’ll be able to hear from Pearson later this week over whether the club actively pursued a striker late on in the window or, due to the options available, he concluded there was no point given the options he already has in the building.
As mentioned previously, though, should Martin be out for any extended period of time, it does leave the central striker area looking a little think.
- Hal Robson-Kanu (West Brom)
- Connor Wickham (Crystal Palace)
- Andy Carroll (Newcastle)
- Yaya Sanogo (Huddersfield Town)
- Jahmal Hector-Ingram (Derby County)
Maxime Biamou (Coventry City)