Nahki Wells nets two against Cardiff’s under-23s
Just 24 hours after Cardiff City had two failed attempts to sign Nahki Wells on loan from Bristol City, the Bermuda captain turned out for the City Under-23s on Tuesday, and ended his goal drought with two goals, against the same Welch club that sought his services until the end of the season.
Wells, unable to command a starting place in the City team this season, used the Professional Development League 2 match at the club’s High Performance Centre, to sharpen his scoring boots.
Manager Nigel Pearson and assistant Curtis Fleming were watching from the stands, as Wells struck either side of half-time, in a 3-3 draw, as Cardiff came from 3-0 down to earn the result.
Wells emerged as a Cardiff transfer target on Sunday night, the day before deadline day, with the club anticipating Kieffer Moore’s move to Bournemouth would go ahead. However, they were only prepared to make loan offers for Wells, while Bristol City’s position, was that they would only let their experienced striker leave on a permanent deal.
Well’s inclusion in the Under-23 team allowed him to build his match fitness after just 14 minutes of Championship football last month. He opened the scoring with a close range header from James Morton’s inswinging free-kick, with the report on the Bristol Post website, describing how he cleverly got ahead of his marker.
Wells’s second goal came after he first struck the crossbar from a cross. He was able to play a full match for the first time since October 30, and was one of a number of first-team players in the U-23 line-up.
According to the report, Wells also showed good touch and awareness operating as a central striker and used his experience to shield the ball against the Cardiff centre-back Ibrahim Bakare, a player 12 years his junior.
“Wells was bright throughout, happy to take the ball into feet with his back to goal and either spin or lay the ball off, as well as looking to play on the shoulder and try to profit from passes into the channels” the report said.
“The challenge for Wells now is to force his way back into the first-team picture, having played just 14 Championship minutes this month with Antoine Semenyo muscling his way ahead of the experienced forward.”
Wells played for 90 minutes in an FA Cup match against Fulham last month, which City lost 1-0 in extra time, but has not started a league game since November 2. His role in the squad seems difficult to understand, despite being the team’s leading scorer last season.
“He doesn’t possess the physicality of Chris Martin or Semenyo, nor the positional flexibility of Andi Weimann, who is also enjoying a career-best campaign in front of goal, and the City manager doesn’t seem to fully trust him as a central striker,” the article stated.
“Wells grew frustrated last season when he was continually assigned with a left-sided attacking role under Dean Holden and although there’s been no danger of that repeating this term, he’s been squeezed out of a central role.
“Pearson did field Wells, Martin and Weimann together in a run of games through October and November, with mixed results, and City have looked far more fluid and dangerous in the final third since Semenyo broke back into the team in early December.”