City sign up Pearson for the coming season
By The Bristol Post | Thursday, June 07, 2012, 05:00
Bristol City have beaten Championship rivals Millwall in the race to sign Scottish international Stephen Pearson.
The 28-year-old former Celtic midfielder proved an influential figure after moving to Ashton Gate from Derby County in November last year, helping the Robins stave off the threat of relegation.
City manager Derek McInnes was so impressed with his fellow Scot's performances, he offered him a new one-year contract at the end of last season.
Effectively a free agent, Pearson was in no hurry to put pen to paper at the time, preferring to keep his options open while his agent spoke to other interested clubs.
Millwall manager Kenny Jackett tried to sign Pearson when Derby cancelled his contract in January and again sounded him out last month with a view to taking him to the New Den.
But Pearson enjoyed his time in Bristol and forged a good relationship with McInnes, a factor that proved crucial in his decision to choose City over the Lions.
It is understood that he has given McInnes a verbal assurance that he will sign his new contract and he is expected to put pen to paper within the next 24 hours.
Pearson's return will be welcomed by City fans, who warmed to his committed displays during the second half of last season.
A versatile player, equally at home on the left wing or in the centre of midfield, Pearson made 28 Championship starts for the Robins and scored three goals, including a crucial winner at Southampton in December.
His experience and ability to link midfield and attack made him a key figure as City battled to retain their Championship status and persuaded McInnes to offer him a new deal.
McInnes is also waiting on former Academy players Lewis Carey and Joe Edwards, both of whom are considering contract offers.
Goalkeeper Carey has yet to appear in City's first team, but is considered a work in progress and has been offered a one-year-deal.
Right-back Edwards broke into the first-team squad towards the end of last season following a successful loan spell at Yeovil Town and is expected to sign his new deal before the end of this month.