HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) – Leading striker Nahki Wells has not yet made up his mind but looks likely to miss Bermuda’s World Cup qualifiers against the Cayman Islands and Suriname next month, in favour of a period of rest after another gruelling season in England’s second-flight Championship.
The Bristol City front man, who turns 31 on June 1, missed the island’s first two CONCACAF Zone Group B qualifying matches against Canada and Aruba in Florida in March. Kyle Lightbourne’s team – nicknamed the Gombey Warriors – are currently third in their group after losing 5-1 to Canada and then defeating Aruba 5-0. Canada and Suriname are both undefeated on six points.
“I’m uncertain whether I will be available,” Wells told the Royal Gazette newspaper. “I’m going to have a talk with management mainly because if I am involved in those fixtures, I’m probably not going to have any rest.
“I think, medically, it will be advised to probably have a bit of a rest if possible. That period is the most beneficial for me to get back to Bermuda and spend some time with the family.”
Wells, who earned City’s golden boot award for his 11 goals this season, added: “Obviously with the quarantine and stuff, by time I get out of that I probably won’t have too much time to spend with my family and friends before I have to go back in the bubble with the national team; so there is uncertainty on whether or not I’m definitely going to be involved in those fixtures.
“I’ll still play my part as an influential squad member, experienced player and ex-captain for any preparations or any supporting help from the side if I am not to be involved. But at this moment, there’s not a definitive yes or no.”
City suffered a 3-1 home defeat against Brentford in their final Championship match of the season at Ashton Gate last Saturday to finish 19th in the standings after an encouraging start to the campaign.
“Happy to get over the finish line in terms of the season being done,” said Wells “It’s been a long, gruelling season on the back of a very short break between the end of last season and the start of this season.
“A lot of things have gone against us that I’ve never encountered in football,” he said. “The amount of injuries we had as a whole, the number of important players that we missed for large durations of the season, meant we had to use the most players in the league.
“Thirty-seven players made appearances for the first team, which would be by far the most of any team in the Championship.
“As a whole and as a group, things started really well. We had a really good pre-season and went into the season in a good place, and won four out of five and had a decent run of fixtures after that in terms of still picking up points. Then from that stage on the season went on a little bit of a downward spiral.”
The loss of form cost Dean Holden his job as manager in February. He was replaced by Nigel Pearson, who experienced an initial bounce before the club went into a tailspin that brought only three points from a possible 30.