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Nicky Maynard has welcomed manager Gary Johnson's decision to retain Stern John's services until at least the end of the season.
Bristol City's top scorer has built a productive partnership with the Trinidad and Tobago international, who moved to Ashton Gate from Coca-Cola Championship rivals Southampton on loan in October.

John was due to return to St Mary's following Sunday's 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, but will now stay on after the clubs agreed to extend his loan spell until the end of the campaign.

Cash-strapped Southampton will not offer John a new contract, want him off the wage bill and are quite prepared to risk a rival profiting from his vast experience.

All of which is good news for Maynard, who has experienced a new lease of life since being paired alongside John in attack.

"I'm really pleased that he's staying," said Maynard, City's match-winner in Christmas games against Watford and Crystal Palace.

"It takes time to build an understanding with another forward and, like any partnership, Stern and I need games to get used to one another.

"I think we understand one another and we're building something on the pitch together. He knows my game and I'm learning more about his every time we play.

"I'm enjoying my football at the moment and long may it continue."

Maynard found goals hard to come by following his £2.25m move from Crewe in the summer and was dropped after netting just twice in 12 starts.

But the introduction of John has brought out the best in the 22-year-old, who has scored six goals in eight games since regaining his place in manager Gary Johnson's starting line-up.

Maynard said: "Stern is just as big a threat as I am and that puts defenders in two minds. They have to decide whether to put two men on me or two on him.

"They can't put two men on both on us and that's what is creating extra space for Ivan Sproule and I to run in behind defenders and cause a threat.

"He's reliable in the build-up and is always looking to play the wingers in rather than playing safe and passing the ball backwards. We're definitely looking more of a threat now."

If further proof was required of their ability to bring out the best in one another, it was provided during Sunday's Championship clash with Palace at Ashton Gate, John presenting Maynard with the opening to score the winning goal in only the second minute.

Maynard labelled that goal his best in a City shirt and was full of praise for the part played by his strike partner.

He recalled: "We've sparked up a nice little partnership and Stern knew exactly where I would be. His clever flick around the corner created the chance for me.

"He's such a clever player – all I had to do was concentrate on striking the ball cleanly and hitting the target. I think that's the pick of my goals so far this season."

Given that Dele Adebola is now fully recovered from the thigh injury which caused him to miss four games earlier this month, City boss Johnson now has more viable striking options at his disposal than at any time since City won promotion back to the Championship in 2007.

Maynard and John have kept £1m striker Lee Trundle out of the side, while recent signing John Akinde is waiting patiently in the wings.

Johnson commented: "You need competition in all departments in the Championship and we now have that competition among our strikers.

"People are always telling me I need to sign another striker. Maybe that will stop now that they are scoring goals."