Nigel Pearson delivers Zak Vyner’s contract update as Bristol City manager enjoys rare luxury

Nigel Pearson has revealed that contract talks are underway with Zak Vyner, as the centre-back is one of “two or three players” whose future at Bristol City beyond this summer has yet to be decided.

Vyner’s current contract expires at the end of the season, but the Robins have a one-year option on his contract to safeguard against the defender’s departure on a free transfer, however the club want to extend his terms for a period of time. longer.

The 25-year-old academy product has started 38 of City’s 39 championship games and showed remarkable progression from his previous seasons with Pearson, where his performances were marred by unforced errors.

Vyner is one of the main contenders to be named Robins’ Player of the Year next month, but the manager is clearly keen to keep the Bath-born centre-back and have him follow goalkeeper and close friend Max O’Leary. , forward Nahki Wells and defender George Tanner sign a new long-term contract.

“There are no official updates, no,” Pearson said of Vyner’s situation. “Those discussions are ongoing. Zak has had a great season for us. I understand that there is speculation, but he is a player that we would like to keep ”.

Vyner is one of five first-team starters without a contract this summer, along with defenders Tomas Kalas and Jay Dasilva and midfielders Andy King and Han-Noah Massengo.

Decisions will also have to be made about young midfielders Josh Owers and James Morton, winger Owura Edwards, who has spent the season on loan in Scotland at Ross County and Taylor Moore, who also has an option on his contract but looks likely to leave Ashton. . Gate impressed during his loan spell at Shrewsbury Town.

Pearson’s previous two years at City have been marked by a large number of first-team players going out of contract and entering the closing stages of the campaign, which has had a detrimental impact on performance and chemistry at the club. dressing room, especially in the 2020/21 season.

However, with the sale of Dan Bentley to Wolves in January, veterans Chris Martin and Timm Klose were released and Massengo was loaned to Auxerre to cover the last six months of his salary and prepare him for a possible return to France, the vast majority of the decision. it has already been done.

Kalas’s future will be determined by whether the Czech Republic international can come back from his latest injury setback, prove his fitness and then agree on a deal that would likely represent a significant pay cut. King’s future is increasingly being seen as part of Pearson’s coaching staff, but the 34-year-old has still played a first-team role this term, making 19 appearances through injuries and suspensions in midfield and defense. .

Bristol City right-back Jay Dasilva (Ashley Crowden/JMP)

Dasilva is perhaps the only person with considerable speculation about his future given that he almost left the club in January for Coventry City, only for the Robins to fail in their pursuit of AFC Wimbledon’s Jack Currie.

That would indicate the 24-year-old will be released in June, and then likely to join Sky Blues, but Dasilva has still proven a useful member of the team, making 30 Championship appearances at left-back and left-back, but as several long-term servants before him, both he and Pearson can feel that the time is right to move on.

“There are only question marks over two or three players,” Pearson added. “Discussions are ongoing, other than that, this will be the first summer since I’ve been here that we don’t have a lot of players without a contract, so I hope this summer is more positive in terms of us. adding to what we already have rather than replacing the outputs, for lack of a better term.”

City travel to Stoke City on Good Friday for a fixture against one of the Championship in-form teams with the Potters having won three and drawn two, giving rise to the theory that with a 10-point deficit to make up for, the team from Alex Neil could make an unlikely but still mathematically possible entry into the play-off conversation.

That was true for City until the end of February, before a series of injuries sent him into an indifferent streak, with just one win from his six. Saturday’s 1-1 draw with struggling Reading was a game they really could and should have won and, to some, spoke to a typical late-season performance.

Yet for all the optimism surrounding Stoke, they are just two points clear of City and while the top six looks a bridge too far for Pearson’s side, with the manager without Kalas, Kal Naismith and Alex Scott , plus Joe Williams and Rob Atkinson for The Easter Show, insists there are less tangible goals to play for.

“This summer will be important, but the players have a lot to play for,” Pearson said. “If they don’t think so, then they won’t play straight. It’s pretty straightforward as far as I’m concerned.

“There is no such thing as a dead rubber. In my mind, there is always something that matters and first of all, we want to finish the season well because if we can’t make any further progress this year, it’s all about preparing for the next one. That’s how the mindset has to go.

“The players are fully aware and there is a lot of competition in our squad. Now it’s up to us to try and continue to improve our own standard, that’s really what it’s all about. That’s just my take on it: there’s always something to play for.”

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