Press conference: Nigel Pearson and Callum O'Dowda preview Rotherham United
Posted: Friday, March 19th 2021
Friday, March 19th 2021
Nigel Pearson has hinted at some fresh legs against Rotherham United on Saturday as he manages his players’ workload.
The Sky Bet Championship fixture (March 20th, 3pm KO), live on Robins TV, is a “chance to freshen up” some areas after an action-packed schedule before this month’s international break.
Callum O’Dowda and Liam Walsh have recently earned minutes with the team after coming back from respective injuries and both will be vying for starts against the Millers.
But while Pearson is keeping his cards close to his chest, he told Robins TV that supporters could expect changes for Saturday’s line-up.
He said: “It’s fair to say changes may be made just because of the expenditure of energy the players have had to do in recent games. To have more players available is really important for us to have the chance to freshen up. There’s always a balance between that and putting players at risk.”
Whoever takes to the Ashton Gate pitch will be seeking to turn City’s home fortunes around, with the Robins without a home win since victory over Huddersfield Town in late January.
“When you’re on a losing run, as we are at home, there’s a potential for people to feel anxiety but to come through this we have to show the same type as drive, commitment, collective togetherness and organisation and that will build the framework for the players to go out there and enjoy their football,” the City manager said.
“It’s not always just about outplaying your opponents and what I mean by that is, sometimes people assume that means with the ball, but you have to out-compete people sometimes and Rotherham are not an easy side to play against.
“They are having a difficult season in terms of results and they are behind with fixtures because of their Covid-19 problems. I’m sure they will want to make the game as difficult for us as possible but if we can show a combination of our determination to keep a clean sheet and show a rhythm in possession, then we can turn a corner.”
He added: “This is an important game for us because it would be very positive to change our home form and get a win.”
The Millers’ physicality got the better of City when the sides met at the AESSAL New York Stadium back in December and Pearson is wary that will be just one element for City to match against though his focus on his own team’s performance levels.
He continued: “They’ll be talking about being physical with us to cause problems but again we have to deal with that. Our focus really has to be on us hitting the performance levels we’re capable of. What is our maximum? What’s our optimum performance? That’s how I measure ourselves. Can we replicate the good things of late but also be more efficient as well?”
Pearson welcomes back Dan Bentley after he missed the midweek 0-0 draw at Blackburn Rovers due to illness. He is now “much better” and it remains to be seen whether Bentley will start or if Max O’Leary will keep the jersey on Saturday.
City v Rotherham United will be streamed live on Robins TV from 2.30pm with City’s Player Pathway Manager Brian Tinnion as guest and co-commentator for the show which includes pre-game build-up, replays, multi-camera setup and post-match analysis.
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