Bristol City starlet Joe Bryan discusses his mixed emotions on the relegation front in 2012/13.
Last Updated: 24/06/13 3:29pm
The 2012/13 campaign has almost reached a conclusion, with promotion pushes coming to a close and relegation battles either won or lost.
Here at Sky Sports, we continue to take you to the very heart of the Football League, with our Spotlight features intended to give you a greater insight into the clubs and players that keep us on the edge of our seats.
We are hoping to bring you the views and thoughts of a representative from each of the 72 teams over the course of the season, with those involved asked to give their take on the division they compete in, the club that pays their wages and those we should all be keeping an eye on.
Next in our hot seat is Bristol City's Joe Bryan, with the youngster taking time out to discuss mixed emotions, loan benefits and future targets with Chris Burton.
It was an odd to the season for you wasn't it, as you helped Plymouth stay up but knew your parent club Bristol City had gone down?
I think it was the week before that I found out. The game before, Bristol City went down on the Tuesday and then there was a game on Saturday, and we managed to stay up. I was obviously all excited, but then I came in on the Monday and they were all down because they had been relegated. It was a bit strange.
You couldn't come in bouncing off the walls could you as everyone else was down in the dumps?
No. There was another lad, Bobby Reid, who has been on loan at Oldham, and they managed to stay up as well. We were in a bit of a strange situation.
Going down doesn't have to be the end of the world for City does it - it offers an opportunity to rebuild?
Now we have gone down, it will give the new manager a chance to build the way he wants, to get his playing style and get the players in that he wants, and build a club that can compete in the Championship again.
And for you, are you hoping it might offer a few more opportunities next season?
I hope so next year. I have shown that I can play in League Two and I've played in the Championship a few times. The next step for me is to be playing regularly for Bristol, and I think I will get the opportunities next year. Hopefully I can make the most of that and nail down a regular starting spot.
League Two is no walk in the park is it, playing regularly and for vital points at that level will have served you well?
It's different in League Two. In that relegation battle, they are fighting for their livelihood. In the Championship, you go down but you are still playing in League One - which is a good standard. But in League Two it's a trapdoor that takes you down to the Conference and it's really hard to make your way back. A lot of players will fight for their careers at the bottom and it's a great experience having managed to stay up.
Do you feel you have really benefited from your time at Plymouth?
Oh year. There are some really good players there, people that have been around and played for a lot of clubs. That experience really helped me and the manager was brilliant in telling me to express myself and play the way I want to. I was playing in front of a good left-back and it was nice to play in most of the games. I had done that a little bit at Bristol, but to know that you are going to be involved on a Saturday is brilliant.
Were Bristol City in regular contact with you, letting you know how they thought you were getting on?
Sometimes I imagine you get sent out on loan and it's an out of sight, out of mind situation - just to get you away and get the training numbers down. That wasn't the case here because they were calling me after the games, and I think they have got copies of the games so they could give me feedback. They were always taking an interest and it was always about going out to get the experience to be able to come back and make an impact at Bristol. That showed on Saturday, when he (Sean O'Driscoll) put me in. I know it was the last game and everything, but it shows the youngsters that he trusts in you.
Bristol City are a sensibly run club so I imagine you are looking at League One and expecting to be competitive aren't you?
I think so. I don't know what is going on with this financial fair play and everything, but I think we'll be competitive. I think we'll bring the right people in and compete at the right end of the table.
There are going to be comings and goings, though, aren't there?
Of course there is. We have got players that will want to get out if they can and look to leave. I don't want to say things, because I don't know, but there are always going to be comings and goings when a club gets relegated because there are some players who feel they want to play at the highest level they can.
On a personal level, are you setting targets or is it just about having a break and then trying to get a good pre-season under your belt?
A good pre-season is the main thing, get myself fit and then go into the season wanting to play as much as I can - whether that it is at Bristol City or out on loan again, I don't know.
And internationally, would you like to be considered by Scotland U21s again?
I think so. I haven't heard anything since that initial call-up, which I couldn't go to because of the concussion. I don't know what's happening there but if I am playing for Bristol City, that will take care of itself - I don't need to worry about that. If you play well, stuff like that comes knocking.
It's shaping up to be an exciting time for you isn't it - you've got a lot to look forward to?
Definitely. It could be an exciting season, a big season for me. I need to make that step up from being the young kid, to try and establish myself. I just want to establish myself, basically. I don't want to be 22 and only played 30 or 40 games. I want to have that game time under my belt by then and not be one of those ones that sort of fades out.