Joe Bryan looks set for extended run in Bristol City's first team
JOE Bryan has an opportunity to earn an extended run in Bristol City's first team.
Named in the starting line-up at left-back for the first time since September 22, the teenage academy product gave an assured performance to help the Robins draw 1-1 with Blackpool at the weekend and end a sequence of seven straight defeats.
Charged with the task of containing Blackpool forward Tom Ince, one of the hottest properties in the Championship, the Bristolian came through with flying colours.
And injuries to first-choice left-back Greg Cunningham and loan signing Matthew Briggs could see Bryan retain his place in away games against Middlesbrough and Brighton on Saturday and Tuesday respectively.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
City manager Derek McInnes has shown he is not afraid to blood youngsters as his team fights relegation and the Scot singled Bryan out for praise after Saturday's game.
He told The Post: "I thought we kept a lot of Blackpool's better players quiet, but Joe Bryan deserves a special mention.
"He had to handle one of the most talented players in the division in Tom Ince and kept him reasonably quiet.
"That will serve as a benchmark for him. There are still areas in which Joe can improve, but I thought his performance was outstanding.
"He is a pleasure to work with in training and picks things up quickly. I am confident he can cope with most challenges put before him in this division."
Quick over the ground and a good reader of the game, Bryan played his part in an improved defensive performance.
City have still to keep a clean sheet this season, but Blackpool failed to score from open play and owed their 90th-minute equaliser to an Ince penalty, the award of which was questionable, to say the least.
Encouraged by his team's display, McInnes said: "Our defending was an area I knew I had to improve and I take responsibility for that.
"Blackpool are the type of team that ask questions of you and they have players who are good on the ball. But I thought we defended a higher line than we have been of late and that helped us.
"There was greater assurance about the back four as a whole and I thought we showed a fundamental improvement."
Bryan's performance against Blackpool has increased the likelihood of Matthew Briggs returning to Fulham when his loan spell ends this weekend.
Signed as short-term cover following injuries to Cunningham and George Elokobi, the young left-back has made four appearances for the Robins.
He will still be available for Saturday's game at Middlesbrough if he recovers from injury, but McInnes will find it difficult to drop Bryan.
Meanwhile, centre-back Lewin Nyatanga will undergo a hernia operation this week.
He is expected to be sidelined for up to a month.