What Nigel Pearson said to Tommy Conway when the Bristol City striker chases his teammate

Bristol City’s run for the golden boot was a topic of conversation in the dressing room at half-time after Tommy Conway’s first goal on his return from injury.

It was the youngster’s 10th goal of the season in his breakthrough campaign to move him one behind strike partner and close teammate Nahki Wells after three months sidelined with a hamstring injury. Unfortunately, Lucas Joao’s header in the second half prevented Conway from finding the winner, but the 60-minute cameo from him was a huge positive on a frustrating afternoon.

The City duo, whose relationship both on and off the pitch has been well documented with 12 years between them, are providing each other a source of motivation to claim the prize at the end of the season. Nigel Pearson is also using it as an incentive for the pair to find their scoring boots for the last seven games of the season.

“The coach came up to me at half time and said ‘how many are behind Nahki now?’ I said ‘one’ so it’s on my mind,” Conway said after the draw against Reading.

“We joked about it, and when the coach told me that, I think Nahki heard it, but it’s a good competition because if we both score, the team will do well. I don’t think it’s the whole thing.” and in the end, as long as we keep winning games, and if I can score along with how that will help. If I finish as the top scorer, I’ll be just as encouraged.

“If you had told me that (reaching double figures) at the start of the season, I would have said it was fine, but let’s see where we get to.”

Conway sat facing the questions with mixed emotions. Scoring after a long and frustrating period on the sidelines was a reward for the hard work put in to help him recover, but he was obviously deflated by the way City wasted two points.

He added: “For me, that’s all I want to do is score goals and get one today (Saturday) in my first game back. I couldn’t have said it better.

“I think for me, I’m not worried that it’s the team that matters and I just wanted to get the three points today and we couldn’t do it. I can score, but if it doesn’t help the team win it puts me in that frame of mind in The one I just want to keep winning and hopefully we can fix that on Friday.”

As Pearson mentioned on more than one occasion during his recovery, Conway had been eager to return to the first-team fold. The striker admitted that he found difficult times on the sidelines as he waited for his moment with the club resisting the temptation to bring him back before the international break.

Tommy Conway celebrates with Nahki Wells(Image: Ashley Crowden/JMP)

“I spoke to all the guys to be fair (about the injury), they were listening to me because I got injured last year and I really didn’t feel the same because I hadn’t smelled first team football.

“But I think with the start I made this year and the number of games I played, I think it hit me even more and made me miss it a lot more. Being in the gym every day made me feel that hungry.” When I got back on the court, I didn’t want to have ‘I didn’t do this right’ questions.

“I applied myself every day and I like to think that it paid off in my performance and hopefully I can continue to build on this now, improving my fitness and hopefully I can score more goals.”

“The club wants to take care of you and make sure it doesn’t happen again and in your head, you just want to play. When you talk to people, you need to see the big picture.”

“There are eight games left, what’s the point of trying to come back for one before the international break that could have happened but didn’t? That break gave me an extra two weeks off my hamstring that allowed me to be available for this game and now looking back, I see that too.

“I think the guys have been really good to me by talking to me about that kind of thing, so that put me in the right frame of mind to get through that. You set goals when you’re injured, whether it’s on the field or off the field. Like if you had to refocus your mind and I think I have.”

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