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The Club Needs A Lift - Pemberton

John Pemberton says the decision behind the inclusion of seven Academy graduates in Tuesday’s Emirates FA Cup tie was part of his desire to “give the whole club a lift”.

The interim manager selected Max O’Leary, Bobby Reid and Wes Burns in the starting XI, with Jojo Wollacott, Zak Vyner, Joe Morrell and Joe Bryan on the bench.

Despite City exiting the cup following the 1-0 defeat to Premier League West Brom, Pemberton believes the experience for the youngsters will be invaluable.

He told Bristol City Player HD: “I think the club needs a lift and when I say the club, I don’t just mean the first team. The Academy is included in that.

“I want people to see that if they are doing well and they’ve got some ability, then they know they have a chance.

“I wanted to give those younger lads the opportunity in a big game, live on TV. It’s the FA Cup; it doesn’t get better than that.

“I’m sure they would have enjoyed it and it would have been great if we would have been able to chuck them on near the end. However, just being in and around it will hopefully benefit them in the long run.”

In total, Pemberton made five changes to his starting XI last night. He gave rests to Luke Ayling, Joe Bryan and Jonathan Kodjia, while Korey Smith (leg) missed out through injury and Richard O’Donnell was cup-tied.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have one eye on the Leeds game on Saturday when selecting the team,” Pemberton added.

“The lads who came in will all benefit from the time on the pitch and will be in a better position when I need to call on them again. We’ve got fixtures coming up thick and fast so need that.”

New loanees Alex Peace and Ben Gladwin will be in the squad for Saturday’s visit to Leeds in the Sky Bet Championship.