Bristol City: McInnes confident teenager Joe Bryan can deliver
Derek McInnes is adamant rookie left-back Joe Bryan has what it takes to make it as a Championship footballer.
Thrown in at the deep end when replacing injured Republic of Ireland international Greg Cunningham against Peterborough United last week, the 19-year-old Academy product made only his second senior start for the Robins at Watford last Saturday.
The Bristolian showed no sign of being affected by nerves and produced an assured performance as City twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road.
And the news that Cunningham will be sidelined for up to two months with damaged ankle ligaments means Bryan now has an opportunity to enjoy an extended run in the team.
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Although McInnes had more experienced options at his disposal, he decided to show faith in the youngster, who is expected to retain his place in the starting line-up when Leeds United visit Ashton Gate on Saturday.
McInnes said: "Joe's biggest attribute is a real desire and hunger to be the best player he can be. He is not the biggest, but he has worked hard to make sure that is not an issue.
"He is a powerful boy, he has great balance and we feel he can play further on than full-back. But because of the way the squad has been shaping up, we have tried to mould him into that left-back role so he can act as cover for us.
"You can never be sure how youngsters are going to act in any given situation, but I was always confident he would do well for us.
"I was impressed by the way he handled being thrown in at the deep end against Leicester last season and the way he came on in a tough situation at Peterborough last week.
"He trains to a high standard every day and, hopefully, he will be his usual self if we use him again."
McInnes will continue to utilise the players currently at his disposal rather than enter the loan transfer market to plug gaps created by injury.
Cunningham is unlikely to be available to play for City in the Championship until the end of November.
McInnes admitted: "Losing Greg so early into the season is a blow. We were keen to get him, because we felt he was the best left-back available to us.
"We managed to acquire him and he started the season well. But injuries are part and parcel of the game and we are going to have to make do without him for the next couple of months.
"He has ruptured a tendon, but at least there is no fracture there, which is a relief, because that would have hindered his recovery.
"There is an opportunity for Joe in the meantime but, hopefully, Greg will come back in a couple of months and pick up where he left off."
Meanwhile, City have dismissed reports suggesting they are ready to offer Omar Kossoko a contract.
A free agent after leaving Auxerre in the close-season, the French winger trained with the Robins earlier this month and featured in a reserve team game. But he has since returned to France without being offered a deal.
City Under 21s beat Ipswich 1-0 at Ashton Gate on Monday night in the Professional Development League with a goal from Lewis Hall.