Stoke City let Championship promotion hopefuls keep striker

Benik Afobe will stay with Bristol City until the end of the season, whenever that may be, Lee Johnson has confirmed.

Afobe is back in training after recovering from a knee ligament injury, hoping to score the goals that book his loan side a play-off spot. He had been ruled out since scoring three times in his first five appearances.

The striker’s loan deal – with an option to make permanent – was due to expire on June 30 and the traditional administrative end of the 2019/20 season.

But manager Johnson explained: “Yes, the way the rules work with that is with any loan player, both parties have to agree to cut it short and the player of course as well.

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“With us wanting to keep Benik and I’m sure Stoke are happy for us to keep Benik. We continue to pay the wages all the way through and he’s not eligible to play for them anyway.”

Afobe, aged 27, had already become a firm favourite at Bristol City, who signed Nahki Wells from Burnley in January and also have Famara Diedhiou in their attacking armoury.

And the boss is pleased to have him back.

“He’s in a really good place and I’m so proud of him just on a human level as well as a professional level,”  Johnson told BBC Radio Bristol, as reported by Bristol Live.

“Obviously what happened to him and his family, with his daughter sadly passing away, was unthinkable really, and his reaction to his work and the positivity that he’s moved into his football day-by-day is really admirable to sit and watch.

“He’s brought a different type of vibe and spark back to the group, and that lifts people. Hopefully that positivity to come back and score goals is really infectious.”

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