Bristol City assistant manager Curtis Fleming has revealed that midfielder Joe Williams is fit enough to return to the starting line-up for the Robins when they travel to Millwall tomorrow night.
Williams managed to come off the bench in the 1-1 draw against Fulham on Saturday to make just his second appearance in the Championship this season for the Robins.
The midfielder delivered a very strong performance and it was a display that labelled as the ‘perfect cameo’ by Nigel Pearson following the draw with Fulham.
That came after Williams added some extra quality to the Robins’ build-up play and he was able to help get them back into the contest.
Han-Noah Massengo is set to miss out on the game against Millwall for Bristol City with him not being ready to make a return to the side yet.
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Therefore, the chance could be that Williams comes into the starting line-up to provide some more quality in possession for the Robins.
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Speaking to Bristol Live ahead of the Robins’ trip to Millwall, Fleming revealed that Williams is now fit enough to come back into the starting line-up. While he also challenged him to deliver the sort of performance he did against Fulham on a consistent basis.
He said: “That’s what he will think! If Joe was picking the team tomorrow he’d be number 1-11,”
“He’s been saying that for about four weeks. He’s been in chatting away and he’s like, ‘I want to play, I want to play, I want to play.’
“It’s brilliant but, having had a career in the game, sometimes you come back a little bit too soon, sometimes you’re chomping at the bit, sometimes are you really ready? Your mind is telling you but your body is telling you no, and you don’t want to listen.
“You saw the impact that he had but the impact has to be based on longevity, it can’t be 20 minutes here, 20 minutes there, he needs to build and build but what it showed is what a good player he is.
“He’s been out a long time and I think he wants to prove how good player he is and he’s worked his socks off. He’s an infectious guy and, is he ready to start, yes, no doubt about it.”
It is excellent for Bristol City that Williams is starting to return to full fitness. That is because he is the sort of player that can change the dynamics of the way that they are able to play in terms of keeping possession and looking to unlock opponents.
Williams has endured a torrid time of it on the injury front since he arrived at Ashton Gate from Wigan Athletic.
That has limited the impact that he has been able to make for Robins, but there is no doubt that there is a quality player there if Bristol City can get him to sustain a run of games.
It would make sense for him to come into the side from the start at Millwall after his cameo off the bench against Fulham.
He seems to be ready for that start now and he might be able to make a major difference for Robins and help them continue their strong away form.
Hopefully, Williams will not overdo it and Bristol City need to be careful in terms of the workload that they ask of him over the coming weeks. However, a first start would probably do a lot of good for his confidence levels.