Bristol City boss Lee Johnson has claimed there is no problem between him and Kasey Palmer despite the Robins midfielder’s struggle for playing time in recent matches.
Palmer was introduced from the bench during City’s 1-0 defeat against Leeds over the weekend, but this was his first league appearances in nearly two months after seemingly falling out of favour under Johnson in recent weeks.
The 23-year-old arrived at Ashton Gate on a permanent deal over the summer after a successful loan spell last term, but he has struggled to establish himself as a regular starter despite playing a part in all of City’s first 15 league games this season.
Speaking to Bristol Live, Johnson has now emphasised that Palmer still has an important role to play between now and the end of the season, while he also suggested that new signing Nahki Wells could even improve the midfielder’s performances.
“I’ve got no issue with Kasey at all,” Johnson said.
“Kasey is going to be worth points for us. Of course he wants to play. It was part of the reason we brought Nahki in because it could enhance Kasey’s vision and movement.”
Palmer has now made a total of 22 appearances for the Robins this campaign following his rare outing against Leeds on Saturday, with the attacking midfielder having found the net once and registered three assists during the campaign so far.
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It seems somewhat strange that Johnson has refrained from utilising Palmer’s abilities so much of late, particularly given his praise for the midfielder in his recent comments, and this must mean City fans can expect to see more of Palmer from now on.
The former Chelsea man adds a certain creative edge to City’s midfield that they sometimes lack when he is not present, and I think Johnson should be looking to deploy Palmer with much more frequency during the final weeks of the campaign.
It is true that Palmer may have been suffering from some fitness problems of late, but the fact he featured against Leeds suggests he is now fully able to contribute for the Robins, and there can be no doubt that Johnson must take advantage of this.