Bristol City: Derek McInnes hints at major player changes before next season
BRISTOL City boss Derek McInnes has given the first indication of big changes to come at the club this summer.
Having staged a notable seven-match unbeaten run to secure Championship survival, City complete what has been a difficult campaign against Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.
But now that safety has been achieved and City know which division they will be playing in next term, McInnes, pictured, is already planning for the future.
No fewer than ten of the current first-team squad are out of contract at the end of the season, while loan signings Jordan Spence, Ryan McGivern, Chris Wood, Hogan Ephraim and Dekel Keinan are due to return to their parent clubs at the end of the season.
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And there are sure to be big changes as McInnes moves players out to free up cash to finance an anticipated flurry of new signings.
Goalkeeper David James, defenders Louis Carey, Jamie McAllister, Danny Ball and Joe Edwards, midfielders Kalifa Cisse and Jamal Campbell-Ryce and strikers David Clarkson and Marlon Jackson are all out of contract in the summer and McInnes will spend the next couple of weeks determining whether or not they have a future at Ashton Gate.
He said: "It is a big summer for us and we need to try and recruit well.
"Any club that has had a really successful season has no real need for change and may just tinker with one or two positions. When you have been in the situation we have been in, fighting a relegation battle for the best part of the season, it suggests there is work to be done. Like any club that finds itself in the bottom half of the table, we have to recruit well.
"It is an important period for the club and we have to decide who is going to be a part of this again. I know what this club can be and, hopefully, with the right additions, we can build a squad that can be competitive and win more points than we have this season."
Now that City are guaranteed Championship football for a sixth successive season, McInnes can commence rebuilding with immediate effect.
He added: "The club was in limbo until we knew what division we were going to be in. Now we are safe, it will help give the situation more clarity.
"For now, the players deserve a lot of credit for standing up and getting the job done.
"Squad changes can wait until the next couple of weeks.
"Like any other club, we have that natural transition period where you have to bring new players in and others move on.
"But that is only natural and we have to make sure we have a squad that enables us to have a better season than this one."
Meanwhile, talismanic midfielder Cole Skuse is doubtful for Saturday's final game against Burnley after limping out of the 2-0 victory over Barnsley with a calf injury.
Skuse has been unable to train since going off shortly before half time and may have played his last game of the season.