Bristol City boss Nigel Pearson is still recovering at home from his latest battle with Covid-19, the club have confirmed.
The 58-year-old was absent from the dugout in the Robins’ last Championship fixture against Coventry City before the international break, with his absence reportedly being cited as a Covid-related condition after contracting the virus for the second time in late September.
This was despite Pearson returning to work after the international break that shortly followed his diagnosis, with non-attendance causing concern knowing he had suffered badly with the virus during the first time he contracted it.
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In his absence, assistant manager Curtis Fleming has taken charge of first-team affairs at Ashton Gate during what could be a crucial international break for the remainder of the season, currently sitting 19th in the second tier and in real danger of being dragged into a relegation battle unless they can turn around their fortunes having lost five of their last six games.
Amid speculation he was set to leave City last week, there has been intense interest in his future and in another update provided by CEO Richard Gould today, he supplied a very brief statement on the current state of play.
Speaking to the club’s media team, he said: “Nigel wants to come back as quickly as possible and is making good progress.
“He and Curtis (Fleming) are in regular contact and we are looking forward to welcoming him back.”
No date has yet been pencilled in for his return, with their next game against Blackburn Rovers coming up in just five days.
The fact Pearson is making good progress as he tries to recover is a good sign, but what shape he will come back in will indicate what the best next step is for both the 58-year-old and the club.
If he isn’t able to return to full fitness and manage as effectively as he did before, the right decision for all parties would be to sever ties because it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience for anyone if that’s the case.
The Championship might be demanding on the players, but it also takes its toll on managers and with the intensity of the job, it’s only right the former Leicester City manager is taking time away to try and get back to where he was before the Covid-19 pandemic, even if it is concerning that no date has been set for his return.
Him spending time away also shows the trust he has in his assistant to deliver the goods, a massive vote of confidence that will only go on to improve Fleming and the rest of the Robins’ coaches for the future.
Their current form is exactly poor having won just three points from a possible 18 in their last six games, so that will be something to improve on for them, but they will be hoping their recent victory over Barnsley that ended their winless run at home will be the confidence-booster they need going into their upcoming games, with or without Pearson in the dugout.