A new era is about to begin at Bristol City, with Nigel Pearson set to formally take charge at Ashton Gate tomorrow.
One player that will likely be keen to impress the new Robins manager is Jamie Paterson, having recently returned from injury and with his future somewhat uncertain.
The 29-year-old is out of contract at Ashton Gate in the summer and now has just months to impress Pearson before a decision will have to be made about his future.
It could well be a summer of change for City, with a significant number of the current squad also out of contract at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, and one that may bring the end of Paterson’s time in Bs3.
The playmaker joined from Nottingham Forest in 2016 and from the start of the 2017/18 campaign, he has been an integral figure at the club – save a brief spell out on loan last term.
In all the attacking midfielder has made 155 appearances for City, scoring 26 times and adding 21 assists, but there is a strong case to be made that the last few weeks have brought some of his poorest displays.
It’s important to remember that the 29-year-old is on the way back from an injury but he has mustered just one key pass in the Robins’ last four games (Sofascore) – all defeats – and there hasn’t been the same energy or tenacity that are his trademark when he’s at his best.
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Even so, he remains a key attacking weapon in the City squad – averaging more key passes per game than any other player and having provided the joint-third most assists despite having missed much of the season (Whoscored).
Paterson was hugely valued by Lee Johnson and Dean Holden, the latter describing him as “a bit player for us” back in December, but he will have to prove himself to Pearson.
Under Holden, he was often used in a deeper midfield role but he could be reinstalled as a 10 if the new manager installs his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.
If he can get back to his best then you feel the Robins will be more than happy to extend his deal but if his struggles continue it would not be a huge surprise for them to look to move on from him, as they push forward in this new era at Ashton Gate.
Should that happen, you feel a player with the technical ability and the Championship experience of Paterson won’t struggle to find another club at this level – particularly as a free agent in the current circumstances.