Sean O'Driscoll assessing defenders Stephen McManus, Matthew Bates and Mark Wilson
New Bristol City head coach Sean O’Driscoll was today assessing defenders Stephen McManus, Matthew Bates and Mark Wilson in training.
And he is expected to make a final decision on all three in the next day or so.
Signed on loan from Middlesbrough in October, McManus has made nine appearances for the Robins and is due to return to the north east tomorrow.
Unless O’Driscoll decides to ask Boro boss Tony Mowbray to sanction a new loan deal, the central defender will remain at the Riverside.
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Recruited as a free agent by former City manager Derek McInnes in August, Wilson was out of contract last Sunday. Although O’Driscoll might yet offer the ex-Celtic right-back a new deal, the expectation is that he will leave Ashton Gate to find another club.
Bates was brought in on a short-term contract in November and his current deal was due to expire today. Having turned down an offer to stay at Middlesbrough at the start of the season, the former England Under-21 centre half has proved his fitness after long-term injury and is hoping to earn an extended stay in the West.
McInnes was due to hold talks with all three on Monday, only to lose his job following defeat to Leicester at the weekend.
Appointed to succeed the Scot at the beginning of this week, O’Driscoll asked for time to assess the trio at the club’s Failand training headquarters.
O’Driscoll may be close to capturing the signature of Crawley defender Kyle McFadzean, but the fact the former Sheffield United trainee will not be fit to play for several weeks, is sure to influence his short-term thinking.
Should Bates and McManus depart before the weekend, O’Driscoll will be left to select from centre-backs Liam Fontaine, James Wilson, Louis Carey and Lewin Nyatanga for Saturday’s Championship clash against Leeds United at Elland Road.