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Ed Lewis

Ed Lewis writes

Posted Friday, July 20th 2018

O’Leary extends his stay in BS3

Goalkeeper Max O’Leary has signed a new three-year contract at Ashton Gate.

The 21-year-old, currently in Spain on City's pre-season tour, is the latest Academy product to extend their stay at the club, with Lloyd Kelly and Zak Vyner agreeing new deals earlier in the summer.

And, after putting pen to paper on a deal which includes the option of a further 12 months, O’Leary shared his delight exclusively with the club’s in-house TV channel.

“To see the faith Bristol City have in me and rewarding me for what I have done over the last couple of years is really pleasing and I’m happy to get it sorted,” said the shot-stopper.

“My aim is to get regular first team football at Bristol City. That is what I aspire to do and I am working towards every day - to get those games and be a regular in the first team.”

O’Leary has previously enjoyed loan spells at Kidderminster Harriers, Bath City and most recently Solihull Moors, for whom he made 23 appearances last season.

Head coach Lee Johnson commented: “This contract improvement is a reward for Max’s consistency in training and his excellent attitude, behaviours and application.

“Max had a superb loan spell at Solihull last season and his performances successfully contributed to their fine run of results in their bid for survival.

“We are looking forward to seeing him continue his progress and developing further as a fine young keeper.”

O’Leary played 71 minutes in Tuesday night’s 2-2 pre-season draw with Real Balopédica Linense and, with Frank Fielding receiving treatment on a hip tendon injury back in Bristol, the youngster could clock up more minutes against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday (July 21st).

“The keepers are a really close bunch because we have been together for four or five years now,” O’Leary added. “We do learn a lot about each other.

“Frank is really good at giving advice and helping us younger lads.

“Me and Jojo [Wollacott] have been together at City since we were 16 so we know each other inside out and we have a really good relationship, even if we are going head to head.

“We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so it’s good to help each other. It is a healthy competition and I do really enjoy working with the group every day.”

Finnish keeper Niki Maenpaa, who left Brighton & Hove Albion at the end of last season, is also with the squad in Spain.

Johnson said: “We’ve brought Niki here for a reason. I wouldn’t call it a trial because we know his qualities but more of a trial of how he integrates with the group and if he likes us because that is as important. But with any player who comes on trial you almost try and find a reason not to sign them, and I have to say that at the moment myself, my staff and the other players have been very impressed with Niki."

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