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More To Come In The Middle - Bryan

Bristol City's Joe Bryan has revealed some words of advice from Lee Johnson after being selected in a central role at Nottingham Forest.

Head coach Johnson played nearly 200 games at the heart of the City midfield and is well placed to offer insight to Bryan, accustomed to playing on the left flank throughout his fledgling career.

But the 22-year-old hinted he could be set for an extended run in the middle – a position he played in his youth whilst progressing through the Academy setup at Ashton Gate.

“Obviously I was in there because Korey (Smith) was injured, but he (Johnson) said he wanted me to use my athleticism to get around the pitch, win the ball and look to play forward,” Bryan told Bristol City Player. “I think I did that.

“He said ‘you’re better on the ball than you think you are. You can go in there and play – don’t think I’m just putting you in there as a stopgap’.

“I played there when I was about 16, and in the youth team when I was playing against bigger lads as a way of getting me to toughen up and learn to use the ball better, and I think that stood me in good stead for Saturday.

“Out wide you’ve always got a touchline behind you, so you can get a bit lazy with checking your shoulders, but that’s something you have to do when you’re playing in the middle.

“You’ve always got to have your head on a swivel. When you watch the top players, you see they’re always looking behind and they know what’s going on 360 degrees around them – that’s the main difference.

“Obviously I played central midfield last week, but anywhere I’m put I’ll try and do well.”

Bristolian Bryan is now relishing the prospect of starting his first Severnside derby as rivals Cardiff City visit BS3 tomorrow (12noon).

“They’re always big games and feisty games that you look forward to, home and away, and it will be good to play in one,” he said, having come off the bench and hit the post in the goalless draw at Cardiff City Stadium in October.

“I think we’ve often been in a similar position to Cardiff in the league, so that’s one the fans have always looked to as a derby.”

City supporters are reminded the Cardiff match is now sold out, but tickets remain available for the following home game against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, March 19th. Call 0117 963 0600 or buy online.

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