Millwall boss makes observation on recent Bristol City seasons as he backs former Leicester chief

MILLWALL manager Gary Rowett believes that Nigel Pearson will be a success at Bristol City if he is given time to build the squad he wants.

City have been ambitious in the transfer market in recent seasons, recruiting Famara Diédhiou for over £5million and adding Premier League experience in Nahki Wells, Alfie Mawson, Chris Brunt and top-flight title winner Danny Simpson.

Yet despite that investment, their campaigns since Lee Johnson’s first season in 2016-17 have followed similar trends.

The Robins won their opening four games in this campaign and were still in the top six after 17 matches under Dean Holden.

Holden was sacked in February with the side in 15th. Pearson was appointed but City are three places worse off with two games left.

They were sixth after 30 games under Johnson in 2019-20 before finishing 12th, sixth after 41 games the previous season before finishing eighth, sixth after 35 games in 2017-18 before an 11th-place finish, and sixth after 15 games in 2016-17 before finishing 17th.

Arguably Pearson’s biggest success in management was his work at Leicester City. He led the Foxes to the Championship title in 2013-14 and then 14th in the Premier League the following season after being appointed in November 2011.

He signed Danny Drinkwater, Wes Morgan, Simpson, and, most notably, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, all of whom were regulars in the side that remarkably won the Premier League in 2015-16 under Pearson’s successor Claudio Ranieri.

With two games left, the Lions can still finish as high as eighth, which would match their position on the final day of last season.

City can only realistically finish as high as 14th.

“They started really well this season. They’ve had a bit of an issue over the last few seasons where they’ve not managed to maintain those great periods,” Rowett said.

“But I think that’s like a lot of teams, I don’t think there’s any disgrace in that.

“Nigel is vastly experienced. I think any Championship club that gives Nigel Pearson time will reap the rewards.

“If you want success you have to give someone like Nigel time to work it out and build, like he did at Leicester and other places. I’ve got big respect for him.

“But, we want to try and win the game at the weekend and that’s our main focus.”

Image: Millwal FC