Bristol City must sign Tom Heaton on loan in January
As per a report from The Sun (h/t Bristol Post), EFL Championship outfit Bristol City are plotting a move to sign Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton on loan for the rest of the season once the transfer window reopens in January.
The 32-year-old is currently behind Joe Hart and Nick Pope in the pecking order at Turf Moor and recently hinted that he is willing to consider an exit in the winter transfer window.
“It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to see that it’s going to be difficult to fit us all in,” he told Mirror.
“Come the January transfer window, I’ve got to keep my options open. The one thing I’ve been consistent about in my career is moving clubs in order to play games.
And Bristol City boss Lee Johnson is hoping to capitalize on the England international’s situation by making a move for him. (h/t Bristol Post)
The Robins have made a decent start to the ongoing campaign and a good run of games could see Johnson’s team get into the reckoning for a playoff finish.
However, they have had concerns with the goalkeeping spot this season. First-choice Frank Fielding hasn’t featured this term at all for the Robins, owing to injuries and illnesses. Niki Maenpaa, who came in on a free transfer from Brighton & Hove Albion in the summer, was doing a solid job in the former’s absence.
But a recent injury to the 33-year-old has left Bristol City to rely on the 22-year-old third-choice keeper Max O’Leary. The Bristol City academy graduate has done an admirable job so far but given the long and arduous nature of the Championship – and considering the lack of top-level experience – the club must bring in a new goalkeeper in the January window.
And Heaton fits the bill perfectly. The 32-year-old did play at Ashton Gate back in 2012/13 when the club ended up getting relegated from the Championship. Subsequently, he was scooped up by Sean Dyche, making the former Manchester United academy man his first signing for Burnley.
Since moving to Turf Moor, Heaton has helped the Clarets achieve promotion to the Premier League on two separate occasions and has been a reliable figure between the sticks.
The three-time capped England international has made 181 appearances for Burnley during his five years at the club. However, he has only appeared thrice in the ongoing season.
A dislocated shoulder kept him out of action for a major part of last season while a minor calf injury hindered his comeback towards the beginning of the 2018/19 campaign. However, now that he has fully recovered, he could prove to be a real asset to Bristol City.
The 32-year-old has over 180 appearances in the Championship and understands what it takes to succeed at this level. Having been an integral part of two promotion-winning teams, he would also bring in the know-how and experience. Meanwhile, his natural leadership skills and the ability to keep his defence tight and organized can be valuable tools for the Robins.
The player needs game time and Bristol City need an experienced head between the sticks. Signing him on loan in January would end up being a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Leeds reviving their interest in this 23-year-old and signing him for £6m would be an absolute coup by Bielsa
Leeds United opinion: Whites should revive interest in Callum O’Dowda
Leeds Unitedhave been handed a massive boost in their pursuit of Bristol City winger Callum O’Dowda ahead of the summer transfer window, with the Times reporting that the 23-year-old Irishman wants a fresh start.
The Times understands that O’Dowda is unlikely to sign a new contract after being frozen out of the first-team at Ashton Gate in the latter stages of the campaign.
The winger hasn’t featured for Bristol City since early March despite having regained fitness from an injury and a number of Championship and Premier League clubs are keen to lure him away from the Robins.
O’Dowda is believed to be unhappy with the kind of treatment he has been given since his refusal to put pen to paper on a new deal and Leeds United might have something to look forward to in their pursuit of the highly-rated 23-year-old.
Back in January, Sky Sports linked the Republic of Ireland international with a move to Elland Road, with manager Marcelo Bielsa interested in securing the services of the versatile winger.
A move failed to materialize despite the player’s contract stand-off with his current club but O’Dowda looks sure to head for the exit door this time around.
The Times understands that Bristol City would be looking to sell Callum O’ Dowda for a fee of around £6million rather than risk losing him for free in a year’s time. The Whites are likely to change their stance in the transfer market after missing out on promotion to the Premier League.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side looked all set for a return to the top-flight for the first time in 15 years but a poor run of form over the Easter period followed by a dramatic 4-2 defeat against Derby Countyin the second leg of the playoff semi-finals ensured that the Yorkshire giants stayed in the Championship for yet another season.
As things stand, the best thing that the Whites can do is put all the disappointment behind them and start right from scratch once again next season, although it’s much easier said than done.
To put things into perspective, Leeds should be looking at some quality wide players in the summer transfer window to add more depth to their options down the flanks.
Man City loanee Jack Harrison is likely to return to his parent club, meaning that Bielsa would have the likes of Jack Clarke, Ezgjan Alioski and Pablo Hernandez as options out wide next season. And that is exactly why someone like Callum O’Dowda can add a lot of value to Leeds’s ranks this summer.
Jack Clarke enjoyed his breakthrough at Elland Road this past season and Leeds should be looking to use him a lot more next term but O’Dowda is a more established player and his playing style should suit Bielsa’s philosophy.
The Argentinian likes his wingers to run with drive, determination and directness to attack the opposition’s full-backs and the Irishman has all those attributes in abundance.
While essentially a left-sided player, O’Dowda is capable of playing on either side of the pitch and also in a central attacking role behind the striker.
His versatility should make him an exciting proposition for Leeds and the 23-year-old’s flair and trickery is likely to add that cutting edge to the team’s attack.
He racked up 4 goals and 4 assists from just 20 starts for Bristol City this season, which is enough evidence of his goalscoring and playmaking abilities as a wide player.
Still only 23, O’Dowda has plenty of time to make significant improvements to his game and working under an experienced manager like Bielsa should do a world of good for his development.
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That said, the Whites should make a renewed attempt to sign the Irishman this summer and they could possibly have a gem on their hands in the years to come should he go on to fulfil his potential.
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Bristol City Opinion: Robins should raid Barnsley for Kieffer Moore
According to reports from Bristol Live, Bristol City are planning a raid on newly-promoted Barnsley for centre-forward Kieffer Moore following the 26-year-old’s heroics in the Tykes promotion-winning campaign in League One.
Moore bagged 17 goals in the third-tier this season, as Barnsley finished runners-up to Luton Town and secured automatic promotion back to the Championship in the first time of asking.
The 26-year-old is one of the five Barnsley players to have been named in the PFA League One Team of the Season, with his tally of 17 goals proving to be one of the key driving forces behind the Tykes promotion-winning campaign.
Bristol City, on the other hand, narrowly missed out on a promotion playoff spot in the Championship, as the Robins finished 8th in the standings, three points adrift of Derby County, who claimed the 6th position.
The fans at Ashton Gate had every reason to be hopeful of their team making it to the playoffs after a promising season but the Robins will need to start all over again next term.
Bristol Live understands that the Robins are on the lookout for a new striker in the summer transfer window to add more firepower to their attack, which is probably why they have set their sights on Barnsley’s towering hitman Kieffer Moore.
The 26-year-old has featured for the likes of Ipswich Town, Barnsley and Yeovil Town in the Championship before with varying degrees of success and the fans at Aston Gate might be divided on their opinion regarding the player’s links to the club.
He is yet to establish himself as a prolific goalscorer in the Championship but he has shown what a lethal leader of the line he can be in League One.
Moore impressed with 4 goals and 4 assists for Barnsley in the second half of the Championship last season, and although his contribution wasn’t enough to save the Tykes from going down, the 26-year-old showcased good strength and aerial ability in the final third.
Standing at 6ft. 5 inches with a towering frame, Moore of an old-school British centre-forward, who excels with his raw physicality, supreme aerial ability and smart link-up play.
Not only be he be a dangerous presence inside the box with his aerial prowess, strength and clinical finishing but he is also capable of operating as the focal point of the attack.
He often holds up the ball well, brings others into play and allows them to pull the strings. Moore averaged a shopping 9.6 aerial duels per game for Barnsley last year in the Championship, numbers which should prompt Bristol City to seriously consider a swoop for him.
Famara Diedhiou has once again led the Robins’ surge for promotion in the Championship this season, scoring 13 goals in the league.
Former Aston Villa star Andreas Wiemann, as well as Callum O’Dowda, Josh Brownhill, Jamie Paterson and Niclas Eliasson, have been the other notable contributors this season in terms of goals and assists.
However, the Robins can certainly do with another striker in their ranks to take the pressure off Diedhiou and increase competition for places, with Matty Taylor only playing a bi part role in the side.
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Moore has proven his worth as a prolific striker in League One and he is certainly capable of making the step up to the Championship if he is provided with regular opportunities.
He would need to fight hard for a place at Aston Gate even if the move does materialize but Bristol City should look at him as a useful squad player.
Harry Wilson to receive a start? – Predicted 4-2-3-1 Derby County XI to face Bristol City
Bristol City vs Derby County Predictions: Predicted Derby County XI
Derby County have risen a certain degree in terms of footballing quality all thanks to the expert management of former Chelsea legend Frank Lampard.
With a promotion 6-pointer against 8th place Bristol City approaching for the Rams, it is essential for them to win this tie in order have a chance of promotion up to the Premier League next season. With just a point separating Bristol and Derby, this match could decide the fate of either side.
Duane Holmes’ groin injury means that his involvement in this crucial tie is under question.
Andy King has also been ruled out by Derby for the remainder of the season and his services have been sorely missed by Lampard’s men at times this season.
Crain Forsyth’s knee problem means that he is also not expected to return before the end of the season while Curtis Davies has suffered an Achilles’ tendon injury and isn’t scheduled back anytime soon.
Predicted Derby County XI
Manager: Frank Lampard
GK Kelle Roos
The Dutch professional has been the first-choice at Derby for a couple games now and he is expected to keep his place.
RB Jayden Boyle
The 18-year-old is extremely highly rated and has been touted for big things in the near future.
CB Richard Keogh
The 32-year-old is a veteran of the English game and his experience will be crucial in the latter stages.
CB Fikayo Tomori
The Chelsea loanee has shown himself in an excellent light all campaign and should start this important tie.
LB Scott Malone
The 28-year-old Englishman has scored a couple of goals this season and has been decent whenever involved.
RCM Craig Bryson
The 32-year-old Scottish controller is going to have to be at his best in order to control this Bristol midfield.
LCM Tom Huddlestone
This Premier League veteran brings a certain degree of experience and composure in this young Derby side.
RM Harry Wilson
The Englishman scored 2 goals in stoppage time last week to seal Derby’s 2-0 win over QPR.
CAM Mason Mount
The Chelsea loanee has impressed at times this season and will be hoping to impress his parent club as well.
LM Tom Lawrence
Yet another player from Derby’s British core, Lawrence has been one of their most potent attacking sources this term.
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ST Martyn Waghorn
The 29-year-old has been used as striker over the last couple of weeks and should start ahead of David Nugent.
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