Nahki Wells urges Bristol City to dig deep against Nottingham Forest
Striker Nahki Wells has urged his Bristol City team-mates to finish the season as strongly as possible after a recent slump saw them slip down the Sky Bet Championship table.
Wells, who scored his tenth goal of the season in the 3-1 loss to Coventry City in midweek, spoke about City’s form and the attitude of the players as they prepare for today’s home match against another Midlands side, Nottingham Forest.
The Bermudian said there is a desire in the team to finish the season strongly with just six matches remaining. Manager Nigel Pearson has also challenged the team to produce some positive results.
City have played eight matches since Pearson replaced Dean Holden, who was fired in late February after just seven months in the job. In that time City have lost five times — four at home — and won just twice, with the team still to give Pearson his first win at Ashton Gate.
“The gaffer can only demand more considering we’ve shown him what we’re capable of, but the last few performance have been well below par,” Wells told Robins TV yesterday.
“We can’t point fingers at anyone except for ourselves … but we have to knuckle back down and put the work in. So far this week has been really good, it’s been tough and demanding but ultimately we’ve really pulled ourselves together and that’s the approach heading into the weekend.”
City and Forest occupy fourteenth and fifteenth places in the standings, with only a point separating the two sides. Another loss could see them dropping two or three places depending on results of the Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers matches against Brentford and Cardiff City respectively.
With six games remaining and 17 points behind the final play-off spot, City appear out of promotion contention, although Wells insists there is still plenty to play for.
“The demand is very important that we try to finish this season as strongly as we can,” Wells said. “We all have different motives, we have different predicaments but, speaking for myself, I want to prove my worth to the club, to finish as strong as I can with the hope of being a catalyst for next season.
“I think the other players should have the same mentality, but everyone is in different predicaments.
“At this moment in time the emphasis this week has been about coming together to help everyone succeed in the long run, be as professional as we can be and that helps everyone of course.”
He added: “It doesn’t feel like a pressure but a natural responsibility as you become a more experienced senior player. We have a mixed, young and experienced group.
“Take me for example, it’s important how we represent ourselves to the young players and carry the club in the right way. More importantly, we have to be leaders through to the end of the season and try to finish as strongly as we possibly can.”
Wells is confident that City can begin that turnaround with a positive home result against Forest. Much has changed since the teams met earlier in the campaign when City won 2-1 at the City Ground.
Wells, in an out of the starting team under Holden, has been a regular starter since Pearson took over, with his goal in midweek making him City’s joint top goalscorer. He is urging his team-mates to “dig deep” after three straight losses.
“It will be a completely different fixture,” he said of today’s match. “We played them early in the season for a fourth win in a row. We were in a very good place, they were without any points and the manager got sacked after that so it’s been a complete swing of momentum.
“They’ve started picking up points with an experienced manager, they have one of the best squads at this level so we’re up against it but we know that to get something out of it, we have to be better than we have been of late.
“We are capable of it, we’ve shown under this manager that when we’re on it we can produce really good performances. We have to change a bit of the mental swing and dig deep to find a way.”