Nahki Wells starts, impresses in weekend FA Cup defeat
In a rare start for Bristol City this season, striker Nahki Wells was one of the top three performers for the club in their FA Cup loss to Fulham on Saturday.
However, the Bermudian’s future at the outfit still seems uncertain as they face some tough decisions during the January transfer period, after recently posting record losses of £38.4 million.
Like many English clubs, City have been impacted by the pandemic, which had forced them to play 32 league and cup matches at Ashton Gate behind closed doors.
According to Bristol Post, transfer talk suggests former Bristol Rovers striker, Jonson Clarke-Harris, is among the striker options being discussed by Bristol City, though the club continues to have Financial Fair Play concerns and a need to get players off their books before any incoming players can be considered.
Wells, 31, one of the senior members of the team, was given a rare start by manager Nigel Pearson in the cup match at Ashton Gate, playing 90 minutes before being substituted at the start of extra time, as City conceded the game’s only goal right at the end of the first period of extra time to exit the competition.
Wells was given the highest rating for his performance along with defenders Tomas Kalas and Cam Pring, with the Bristol Post writing about the Bermuda captain: “The built up of energy from having no starts since November 2 showed here in a performance that had everything. He looked every bit the part of an all-round smaller striker alongside Chris Martin.
“There were some lovely turns to shift the ball onto either foot. He offered Benarous, Scott and Martin the forward option to run in behind Fulham’s defence and provided more than his fair share of sprints out of possession to close defenders down too.
“His confidence was summed up by a late overhead kick that was ultimately weak but demonstrated his positivity from the game.”
Pearson praised the team’s effort against Fulham, who are second in the Championship points table.
“The lads who have not had chances recently, when they got their opportunities they showed what they are about and I like that,” the manager said.
“Apart from not taking our chances we were very good.”
Wells went close to scoring in the thirteenth minute when his free kick from 35 yards was inches over the crossbar. Minutes later, he had a shot from outside the box saved by the Fulham goalkeeper.
Wells also went close with two late chances, a 77th minute header from the left side of the six-yard box that was saved and then a shot from inside the penalty area that was also saved.
The striker has contributed one goal and an assist in 19 league appearances for Bristol City this season. This represents an average of 13 minutes of play in the team’s last seven Sky Bet Championship matches, stretching from November 6, 2021
This is in contrast to his average of 77 minutes in each of City’s previous seven matches.
Bristol City, fifteenth in the standings, meet Fulham again on Saturday, this time making the trip to west London for the match at Craven Cottage.