David James sees good times ahead for Bristol City after signing new deal
DAVID James is tipping Bristol City to benefit from the adversities of last season after putting pen to paper on a 12-month contract extension.
The former England goalkeeper was brought to Ashton Gate by Steve Coppell last summer, just weeks before the manager quit his post two games into the campaign.
Keith Millen took charge, but City were mired in relegation trouble in the early part of the campaign following the off-field disruption, which rendered their chances of a play-off push over before they began.
Millen, however, guided the team to an impressive run of form towards the end of the campaign and James, who featured in all but two of City’s games last season, believes the side are stronger for the experience.
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“Despite all the adversities last season, I think on a number of occasions we showed our capabilities,” said James, 40, who won 53 caps for England over a ten-year spell.
“Yes, there were some inconsistencies that let us down and too often we allowed teams to beat us. When we got it right, we could wins games against whoever we faced. I’m confident we can do good things this season, as I’ve been assuring City fans whenever I bump into them around the world.
“The manager is getting a decent squad together with some hungry younger players coming on board, all hoping to challenge for first-team places straight away.
“The squad is coming together and we also have a decent staff in place. I’m looking forward to the new season and a full pre-season with the club.
“We should take a lot of heart from the positives of last season and take them into the upcoming campaign. The goal when I first joined was promotion. We had a tough battle, but we should be better for that experience.”
James triggered an option of an additional 12 months by playing an agreed amount of games last season, and Millen said: "David proved his fitness last year being available for every game.”
He added: “He clearly sees us going in the right direction, pushing for promotion in the forthcoming season. That’s why he’s decided to sign the contract extension.”
James will join the players for the start of pre-season training on Friday, when Millen is hopeful that skipper Louis Carey will also have signed a new 12-month deal. Goalkeeper Steven Henderson has also been offered a new deal, but has yet to sign and is being chased by other clubs.
Middlesbrough defender Andrew Taylor could also join up with the squad should he decide on a move to Ashton Gate.
The former England Under 21 international is believed to have held talks with Millen in Bristol on Monday afternoon. His decision is imminent, but a move to Cardiff City is also a possibility following talks with Bluebirds boss Malky Mackay. Tony Mowbray has also indicated he is keen to keep the out-of-contract defender at the Riverside.
Millen is also expected to hold talks with prized asset Nicky Maynard on Friday. The manager is keen to keep Maynard at Ashton Gate in light of a £3 million offer from Leicester, which was rejected last week.
The Foxes, however, may end their pursuit if they can agree personal terms striker Craig Mackail-Smith after having an offer accepted by Peterborough United.