This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Marley Watkins will be hoping to feature for Bristol City’s Under-23s‘ today as he edges closer towards making a return from injury.
Watkins picked up a hamstring injury on loan at Aberdeen in November, and returned to Ashton Gate after scoring two goals in 13 games for the SPFL side.
The 30-year-old will now be hoping to get back out on the grass as soon as possible, with a potential Under-23s’ outing on the cards this afternoon.
Watkins will be hoping to impress, with his Ashton Gate contract set to expire at the end of the season.
Here, we discuss whether the Robins should extend the midfielder’s contract in BS3 or not…
He’s a player that can play in a number of roles and for that reason I think he’s a valuable asset to have.
With Nigel Pearson now in the hot seat at Ashton Gate, every player will feel that they have a clean slate, with Watkins being included in that.
There’s no harm in handing him a short term contract if worse comes to worse and I think the manager would be keen to run the rule over him between now and the end of the season.
I would say hold onto him and hand him a new deal for now and then assess the situation a few more months down the line.
If I was Bristol City, I would probably be willing to move Watkins on this summer.
The winger hasn’t featured for the Robins since returning from his loan spell with Aberdeen in January, suggesting that he is some way down the pecking order at Ashton Gate.
Indeed, given Watkins was not exactly prolific during his time in Scotland during the first half of this season, it could be argued that he may struggle to make the required impact for Bristol City were he to be brought back into their side.
As a result, it could make sense for Bristol City not to offer a new contract to Watkins at the end of this season, clearing space in their squad and wage budget for new recruits to strengthen their side, and given the winger the chance to go out and play the regular first-team football he is likely to be hoping for, with another club.
Quiz: Have each of these 24 ex-Bristol City players retired or not?
Watkins is not a player that the Robins should be handing a new deal to.
He’s been unfortunate with injuries and not had a huge amount of chances at Ashton Gate but he’s been a pretty underwhelming signing and the expiration of his contract is the perfect opportunity for the club to move on.
It’s going to be a very interesting summer in Bs3 with a fair few senior players out of contract.
It may well be a balancing act trying to find a way to keep hold of all the ones that remain important but Watkins is not one of them.
His time with City has been a disappointment. Move on.