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'Pride and futures to play for' - Pearson

Nigel Pearson insists there is still everything to play for as he gets his side ready for their next Sky Bet Championship fixture against Nottingham Forest.

The Robins manager says that with every game between now and the end of the season there is professional pride and players’ futures on the line.

City host Forest at Ashton Gate live on Robins TV this Saturday (April 10th, 3pm KO), with both sides sitting side by side in the table (City 14th, Forest 15th), separated by just a single point.

Performances and results have been disappointing of late with hopes of the play-offs having all but slipped away as City find themselves in the mid-table mix.

WATCH NIGEL PEARSON'S FULL INTERVIEW: 

Mindset

Asked if a mid-table mindset had crept in, Pearson told Robins TV: “I don’t buy into this mentality that there’s nothing to play for because every time you take to the field there is professional pride at stake and that’s a really precious thing. There are players playing for their futures so there’s always something to play for.

“I’m the manager so I don’t enjoy it at the moment in terms of people asking questions and me questioning us as well, it’s not a situation I enjoy. However, we have to work together to find solutions and that’s the key message.”

The Robins are looking to find the winning formula after back-to-back defeats over the Easter weekend, which followed a seventh loss at home prior to the international break.

But Pearson remains committed to finding the solutions over the remaining matches and he was open about conversations with the players.

Motivation

He said: “We’ve been talking about a response for a while but it’s a situation that’s not a good one, in terms of how we feel about ourselves. The motivation the players need to bring to the pitch has been lacking and we’ve spoken about that. It’s simple in my mind now, we have six opportunities to finish the season with a more positive feeling.

“The criticism that comes is justified and we have to deal with it, but we can’t keep talking about it over and over, it’s about actions and the players are aware of the need to change our fortunes at home as much as anything.

Drive

“You do draw on past experiences but there’s no point trying to replicate how you dealt with a different situation because circumstances now are different. It’s really an unusual situation in that we’re not safe yet but we’re relatively comfortable and that’s a problem.

“Moving forward we need a greater drive to make things happen on a daily basis, never mind the current situation and the run we’re in. To be a success as a club we need to develop a drive that everyone shares, it’s a big challenge but it’s not the priority at the moment. The priority is to turn around our form both in terms of performances and results.”

Young guns

He continued: “It’s about what we can do to put it right, we’ve trained hard again this week and I want us to be more clinical and more game effective. The players have to accept that and bring more. I’ve had conversations with individuals and groups this week and time will tell.

“For me, it gives some clarity and it’s important to look at what’s happening, then finding the solutions. We won’t see lots of changes in terms of how things happen during the rest of the season because of our personnel but that’s okay because as I’ve said, with some of the younger players it always gives people opportunities. You need to be able to take those chances when they come and that’s a positive element, a side effect of our current malaise and good for them. Let’s hope they all take them.”

Academy graduates

Striker Tommy Conway was the latest Academy player to be handed his opportunity when he came off the bench against Coventry City on Monday. He became the sixth graduate to do so this season after Ryley Towler, James Morton, Sam Bell, Sam Pearson and Owura Edwards.

“Those individuals are tenacious,” Pearson said. “They’re opportunists too and they have a strong team mentality and personal drive to achieve. That’s a real positive and as I say it’s about getting the balance between giving them chances but not putting them into a situation where it can have a negative side effect. It’s never a perfect scenario.”

Squad update

While Conway will be competing for another appearance this weekend, Bell is “unlikely” to play again this season after suffering a hamstring injury on Good Friday and there are also updates on  Liam Walsh, Nathan Baker and Jamie Paterson, who is this week having surgery on a groin issue and will not feature for the rest of the campaign. 

He explained: “It’s fair to say it’s unlikely we’ll see Sam again this season, likewise with Walshy. They won’t be available. Nathan is a possibility but we’ll see. I try not to waste much energy with people who aren’t available and it’s not that I’m not bothered about them, but it’s more about drawing a line under it and thinking about what we can do with those players who are available.

“We’ve had issues which I think have limited our ability to build on success but it’s something we have to resolve in the medium-long term. It’s about concentrating on the players who are available and trying to change the run we are on.”

City versus Forest will be streamed live on Robins TV with the Matchday Show starting at 2.30pm.

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