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Exclusive: Bristol City eager to extend King's contract and consider Cardiff City midfielder

By Richard Forrester

Bristol City are considering keeping Andy King on the books for another year despite his struggles with injuries, Bristol Live understands.

The 33-year-old has made just 10 Championship starts with his campaign being hampered by two hamstring injuries. He was forced to undergo surgery for a second time this season in February after coming off in the first half of City's 3-2 win over Cardiff.

King picked up his first hamstring injury in October, keeping him out of action for 10 weeks in total. The former Leicester midfielder signed an initial one-year deal on a free transfer last summer with the option to extend it for an extra year.

Manager Nigel Pearson is a huge admirer of King with the duo previously working alongside each other at both the Foxes and Belgian side OH Leuven.

Bristol Live understands the club are working towards keeping him for another season, although it remains unclear whether the year option will be triggered or King will be offered a new deal on reduced terms.

Pearson likes his leadership qualities in the dressing room and believes his professionalism is a big influence on the younger players coming through the squad, particularly the likes of Alex Scott, Ayman Benarous and George Tanner. City also have midfielders Josh Owers and Dylan Kadji waiting in the wings following their impressive campaigns for the Under-23s.

Although King is unlikely to be a starting figure next season, he is also eyed as a reliable back-up option. With Han-Noah Massengo likely to leave this summer, Joe Williams' injury record and Benarous out until around Christmas, City risk being light of numbers in the middle depending on the work Pearson does in the transfer window.

The manager is hoping to bolster his numbers in the middle of the park by signing a defensive midfielder while hinting at the possibility to bring in a player with more of a goalscoring threat to help ease the burden on Andi Weimann, Antoine Semenyo and Chris Martin.

Bristol Live understands Marlon Pack is one of the options being explored as City look toward at free agent market. Pack confirmed on Monday that he is leaving Cardiff at the end of his contract on June 30.

Bristol City are targetting Marlon Pack (Will Cooper/JMP)

Pack, 31, spent six seasons with City until 2019 before joining their Welsh rivals where he played 99 times for them in the league. He fell out of favour under manager Steve Morrison in the second half of last season, with his final league appearance coming against City at Ashton Game in January.

A move back to BS3 would be seen as an attractive proposition for Pack as he already lives around the area. His defensive qualities mean he would provide competition for both Williams and Matty James in the middle while his attributes tap into Pearson's desire of plucking out gritty wins.

Like King, Pack would be on relatively low wages and also help develop the younger players in the squad.

City will release their retained list in due course which will confirm Louis Britton's departure from the club. Contract negotiations are still taking place with Timm Klose and Robbie Cundy while Callum O'Dowda has been told his contract option won't be exercised with his deal expiring next month.

Pearson is likely to put Zak Vyner and Taylor Moore up for sale, Kasey Palmer is free to leave, while the club are expected to listen to offers for striker Nahki Wells as they aim to trim the wage bill.

Derby's Curtis Davies is on Pearson's transfer shortlist but is just one of a number of central defenders the manager is looking towards.

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Dive Deeper:
Former Bristol City favourite announces he will leave rivals Cardiff City on a free transfer
The midfielder's three-year spell at Bristol City's Severnside rivals has come to an end after taking to social media to…
Exclusive: Bristol City open talks with Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City transfer target
Bristol City have an excellent chance of landing exciting 22-year-old Forest Green Rovers wing-back Kane Wilson as the Robins summer…
Bristol City end of season player ratings: Highs and lows as the attack excels but others flop
All the Robins ratings after a 17th-place finish which included a perfect 10 but also a three following a campaign…
Cardiff City transfer news as West Ham want Rangers defender, Pack wanted by rivals and future of Bluebirds target takes twist
The latest news from the Cardiff City Stadium
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Physical stats, no square pegs in round holes - Bristol City's four steps to success next season
Nigel Pearson dared to suggest his side can challenge for promotion next season although he'll need to resolve a number…
Championship transfer rumours: Bournemouth want Stoke City talent, Newcastle stopper available
The latest Championship transfer news and rumours concerning Bristol City's rivals in the second tier
Get all your news in one place