City will work on Matty Dolan over the summer to sharpen him up for a bigger role next season.
Phil Parkinson has earmarked the young midfielder to become more of an influence in the club’s second term in League One.
Parkinson has been impressed with Dolan’s range of passing since arriving on loan from Middlesbrough in January. But the 21-year-old has tired towards the end of some games – and improving his fitness will be top of the agenda.
The City boss said: “Matty had a bit of an injury before the Swindon game but he’s assisted three goals since he’s been here. He’s made a good contribution.
“But this is an important summer for him to really work on his fitness. We need to work with him over this period and get him fitter and sharper.
“Then we’ll have a good player on our hands. Matty’s got a lot of work to do but he has the raw talent and is a very good passer of the ball.”
Dolan, whose loan becomes permanent once his four-year Boro contract expires in June, has made ten appearances so far.
He spent the first half of the campaign with Colin Cooper’s Hartlepool, who also wanted to sign him after he failed to break into Middlesbrough’s plans.
Parkinson added: “Maybe you get forgotten a little bit when you spend a couple of years in that under-21 group. This has been his first full season but he’s going to be a good player.”
City leaned heavily on the loan market from January as injuries began to bite into the squad. Parkinson felt all the temporary recruits had some input in solidifying the club’s league position.
He said: “Look at the younger ones. Reachy we’ve spoken about but Benno (Kyle Bennett) also got an important goal at Colchester.
“His better performances have tended to be away from home, where we’ve counter-attacked more and he’s used his athleticism to carry us up the pitch.
“When you bring in two senior loan players like Adam Drury and Jon Stead, it’s so important that they are good characters. Those two have been fantastic in and around the building.
“Both have shown what good pros they’ve been in the careers and hopefully will continue to be. Their personalities and desire to win have helped us enormously.
“(Goalkeeper) Arron Jameson hasn’t had the games he wanted because Jon McLaughlin has been consistent but his attitude in training has been terrific.
“Chris Atkinson is another who hasn’t figured as much as he’d like but he’s been out injured for a month. But again there’s been no real disgruntlement.”