Bristol City forward Nahki Wells scored four times for the Robins’ Under-23s team in their fixture against Hull City in an emphatic 6-2 victory on Tuesday night, after becoming something of an outcast at Ashton Gate.
After recording a reasonably impressive 14 goal contributions last season in 46 games, scoring ten and bagging himself four assists, Wells has been dropped to the bench in favour of the likes of Andreas Weimann and Chris Martin this season.
During the 2021/22 league campaign so far, the Bermudan international has played just 51 minutes of football in five league games, barely being able to make any sort of impact on the Robins’ first team and looks set to continue remaining on the bench after the international break.
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Weimann’s anterior cruciate ligament injury at the start of last season ruled the Austrian out of action for the remainder of the captain, with Wells becoming an unfortunate beneficiary of that huge blow for Bristol City.
But with Martin and Weimann as options for manager Nigel Pearson up top, along with previously Crystal Palace-linked 21-year-old Antoine Semenyo, Tommy Conway, Sam Bell and Saikou Janneh, Wells’ future at the club looks uncertain after being signed from Burnley in January 2020 for a reported £5m fee.
During the international break, he will be hoping to continue showing manager Pearson why he should be starting after joining the club just over 18 months ago for a sizeable fee.
His contract doesn’t expire until 2023, so any potential club that wants to take the 31-year-old off the Robins’ hands permanently will have to pay a fee for his services.
Even though Wells’ internal competitors Bell and Janneh both managed to get on the scoresheet, the Bermudan will be secretly hoping that shows the potential gulf in quality between him and the less experienced pair.
Janneh did score a brace away at Forest Green Rovers in the Carabao Cup last month though – and Weimann’s four goals in five Championship games this term will continue to harm the 31-year-old’s chances of regaining a starting spot.
Perhaps the Austrian’s new three-year deal this summer, despite his ACL injury, was already a sign that Wells was going to have his playing time limited this season.
However, you can’t rule out the possibility of him becoming the main man under Pearson if he can continue to impress like he did on Tuesday night.
Pearson already admitted he couldn’t afford a 20-goal per season striker in the summer – and though Weimann might already be on his way to that total after a lightning start to the campaign – Wells has every chance of overtaking Chris Martin in the pecking order if he keeps his head down.