Bristol City manager Lee Johnson has said it is “without question of a doubt” that Kasey Palmer will be involved for this Saturday’s clash against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
The attacking midfielder has struggled for gametime in recent months, amid talk of a falling out with Johnson at the start of the calendar year.
The 23-year-old last featured for the Robins on the 22nd February, coming on for a 17 minute cameo against West Bromwich Albion.
His last start for the club was in City’s FA Cup third round tie against Shrewsbury Town at Ashton Gate at the start of January.
However, speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend’s game, Johnson said that he has been impressed with Palmer recently.
“The last two weeks, it’s probably been the best he’s trained,” he told the Bristol Post.
“He’s definitely very close [to featuring]. Again, being honest, it’s that trust. I’m the one who’s paid to pick a team and, if you’re life depended on scoring a goal, you’d have Kasey in the team.”
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However, Johnson also gave Palmer some constructive criticism.
“Off the ball, he’s still got work to do.”
Amid talk of disagreements between the pair in recent times, Johnson stated clearly that he still has faith in the summer signing to deliver.
“I still believe in him. He’s still a young player but an extremely talented kid and one we believe can have a big impact,” he said.
“Every fan and every player will have an argument but we’re not bottom of the league, we’re one point off the play-offs and there’s been a lot of successes.”
In total, Palmer has made 26 appearances for the Robins this season in all competitions, including 11 Championship starts.
Johnson is trying hard to instil belief into Palmer, and from his comments, it seems that the midfielder could play a key part in this weekend.
For Palmer to start regularly, it looks like he has to impress Johnson on a consistent basis to get in the team ahead of players like Han-Noah Massengo.
It is a positive that Palmer has been doing well in training, as it shows that he is still committed to the cause.