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Wells is a trailblazer, says Goater

On the ball: Goater, playing for City against United in his pomp, believes that Wells can reach the top

Shaun Goater still closely follows the fortunes of Bermuda’s English-based players and believes the best is yet to come from Nahki Wells.

The 46-year-old, who lives in England, is hoping Wells can be the next Bermudian to reach the Premier League, with his club, Huddersfield Town, in fourth place in the Sky Bet Championship.

“The trailblazer is Nahki Wells, who’s been great for Huddersfield since arriving in 2014 and he’s only got better as he’s moved up divisions,” Goater told sports.bwin.com.

“He’s a really exciting player for the country and I hope he can continue to push on at Huddersfield and showcase Bermudian football.”

Goater has also been impressed with Reggie Lambe, the Carlisle United forward, who he believes him capable of playing at a higher level.

“Reggie Lambe at Carlisle is doing really well. He’s at a club whose manager has more belief in him and is playing him more than he was being played at Mansfield,” he said.

“I would not be surprised if Reggie moved up a level to play in League One, he has the ability to do so. The problem with Bermudian players is adjusting to the aggressiveness of English football, especially in the lower leagues.

“The kick and rush football here isn’t as suited to Bermudian players, who are used to a slower, more technical style of play.”

Goater added: “Jonté Smith is another technically good player from Bermuda. He needs to get the opportunity to show what he can do and then may push for a League One club if he can play well for [non-League side] Lewes.”

Goater also still takes a keen interest in his former clubs Rotherham United, Bristol City, Manchester City, Reading and Southend United.

He first moved to England in 1989 when he joined Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson.

He eventually made a name for himself in the blue half of the city, where he scored 103 goals in 212 games, helping Manchester City return to the top flight from League One.

“I’d expect Southend to be up there around the top when the season finishes,” Goater added.

“With Phil Brown’s experience in League One, they’ll be expected to push for promotion and they’re in a good position at the moment but they’ll know they need to push for the automatic spots if they can.

“One of Southend’s strengths is they don’t lose that often and just went on a 13-game unbeaten run before the Sheffield United result [a 4-2 defeat].”

Goater believes the next few games are vital for Championship strugglers Rotherham.

“The next month, six to eight games, will dictate the future for the club,” he said.

“They’re 12 points adrift so they need to close the gap fast and if they can bring it down to four points, then they’ve got the opportunity to stay in the division.

“In saying that, if they fail to do so, then they absolutely have to prepare for a future in League One.”

Bristol City, who have another Bermudian, Osagi Bascome, in their under-23 team, are in the bottom half of the Championship.

“I think the goal for them is to push themselves to mid-table,” Goater said.

“I’m sure it’s very disappointing for them this season as they were touted as potential play-off contenders, being around the top six at the beginning of the season.

“It’s a club that’s set up for the Premier League, they’ve got a great 20-25,000 capacity stadium and are in a nice part of the country, but it’s just not worked out. I’m sure the board have earmarked a time period of when they want to be in Premier League and that’s always the goal for Bristol City, even when I was playing there.”

Reading are doing well in the Championship, sitting in a play-off-position.

“I think Reading brought Jaap Stam [their manager] in to really push in to those promotion spots,” Goater added.

“He’s got great experience and knowledge having had an illustrious playing career, so he was the perfect appointment for the club to really push on.

“Based on the infrastructure at the club and the fanbase, a lot of players would like to play for Reading. I believe automatic promotion should be in their sights. Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion are favourites to secure those two spots but it’s essential over the next month that they keep on their coat tails.

“The pressure is all on Newcastle as the team with the most money and a 50,000-plus stadium, so Reading need to keep relaxed and just enjoy their promotion push.”

Goater was asked whether Manchester City can be title contenders this season under new head coach Pep Guardiola. It is the former club he is most strongly connected to.

“I think Vincent Kompany is the key player we’re missing,” he said. “He’s the rock at the back and our captain. If he’s struggling with his fitness, then we have to make a move for Virgil van Dijk.

“He’s the priority signing for Guardiola. He’s a very good player; very strong, solid, with a great aerial presence but also very good composure on the ball, which Pep will like. I think he’s the ideal player to come in and because it’s already very difficult getting players of a high quality in January, the club must act quickly to buy him.

“It’s certainly possible for City to win the league but Chelsea are in pole position. I think Arsenal and Tottenham are out of the title race, it’s between City, Chelsea and Liverpool for the title.”

For the full article, go to https://sports.bwin.com/en/news/football-betting/premier-league/shaun-goater,120603.html