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New Faces: Transfer Update

In my absence from blogging in the last couple of weeks, Bristol City have been rather busy in the Transfer Market.

Although there are no ‘big’ named or ‘big’ money signings, the business Gary Johnson has done so far, shows a desire to bolster a basically-decent side with experience, while also adding more building blocks towards the club’s longer-term future.

First through the doors of Ashton Gate was striker David Clarkson, who signed from Motherwell. Despite secrecy over the precise figure of the fee, it is understood that it lies somewhere around the £800,000 mark.

The Scotland international has been touted as an astute signing by Maurice Malpas, who worked with the 23 year-old at ‘Well.

He told the Bristol Evening Post: “He was somewhat of a wonder-kid when he first burst on the scene but he suffered a burn-out effect and had a difficult third season.However,

“He seems to have kicked on again over the last couple of seasons and I think he a decent player that will prove to be a good signing for Bristol City.

However, Clarkson has a somewhat mediocre scoring record, hitting the net just 50 times in over 200 appearances for the SPL side, so he willneed to convince City fans with some performances on the pitch.

Shortly after securing Clarkson’s services, Johnson persuaded goalkeeper Dean Gerken and defender Andre Blackman, to sign on the dotted line.

Gerken, whose transfer fee is again a mystery, has signed a two-year deal with the Robins, and will join Stephen Henderson as Adriano Basso’s competition, in the wake of Chris Weale’s Bosman move to newly-promoted Leicester City.

The former-Colchester stopper was pleased with the move to the West Country.

I’m over the moon with the move. It’s a massive club that plays good football. The players always look like they enjoy their football here,” Gerken told the Post.

Andre Blackman has been brought in as a prospect for the future, following the 18 year-old’s release from Portsmouth at the end of the season.

While Blackman is still in the embryonic stages of his footballing career, the same cannot be said for City’s most recent signing, Paul Hartley.

The 32 year-old has a wealth of useful experience, having played for Celtic in both domestic and European clashes, and has joined on a free transfer following his release from the SPL runners-up.

He sits as City’s fourth first-team central midfielder, behind Marvin Elliott, Lee Johnson and Cole Skuse. However, Gary Johnson told the Post that competition can only be a good thing,a cross all positions: “If we have four midfielders, four centre-backs and a couple of left and right-backs then it provides good competition. I’ve brought Paul here to be a first-team player, but he’ll compete with everyone else. Every player here has to have a desire to succeed.”

Hartley himself harbours Premier League ambitions with his new club, and is determined to break into the first-team on a regular basis. He said: “It’s a very young team here and the manager has stressed to me that he was looking for someone with experience, to help them come along and improve players.

“We know the Championship is a difficult league, but everyone’s aim here is to reach the Premier League.”

With those new faces already signed up, rumours suggest that City are now eyeing up a move for another of Celtic’s released players – the Dutch striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.

There is yet to be any word from the Robins camp about the Holland hotshot, but the player has recently snubbed a return to the Eredivise with former club PSV Eindhoven, and so has left the door open for an approach from Johnson’s side.

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