McINNES RESPECTS MAYNARD CHOICE
Bristol City manager Derek McInnes has defended wantaway striker Nicky Maynard amid mounting criticism from the club's supporters.
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City's seven-goal top scorer has been put on the January transfer list after turning down the offer of a new contract at Ashton Gate last week.
The Championship club are prepared to sell the 25-year-old next month rather than risk losing him for nothing in the summer when his contract expires.
Some Robins fans have turned on Maynard and cheered the decision to substitute him late on in the 1-0 Boxing Day defeat at Coventry.
But while McInnes is disappointed the striker has rejected a new deal, the manager respects his position.
He told the Bristol Evening Post: "I can understand the frustration and anxiety among the supporters. There is a lot of emotion in football and that is why we all love the game - but I think Nicky is quite within his rights to see out his contract if that is what he wants to do.
"We still want him to commit to a long-term contract and he has told us he does not want to do that at the moment. That means we have to look after the interests of the football club and try and get back some of the money invested in him.
"I'm disappointed by his decision, but I respect it at the same time.
"Now is the time to draw a line under the whole hullabaloo and move forward."
McInnes insists Maynard will remain in his first-team plans as long as he is committed to City's cause.
He added: "We may be forced to sell him in January but, for me, Nicky is still a very good player.
"I've seen him in training and had a good chat with him - and I think he is focussed and eager to do his best for the club and he is showing a real determination in training.
"He still looks lively and he still looks as though he has the intent to score goals.
"So long as he continues to do that, he will be available for selection.
"Nicky Maynard has been superb and he will get all the support in the world from me so long as he continues to work hard."