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Bentley hails City’s bodies-on-the-line attitude

Dan Bentley says City go into every game with the mindset of keeping a clean sheet intact, with solid foundations enabling them to build their attacks.

It’s the bravery of the Robins which has helped them compete at the top end of the Sky Bet Championship and after Tuesday night’s 2-1 victory away to QPR, Bentley can feel the confidence flowing ahead of Birmingham City’s visit to Ashton Gate on Saturday (December 5th, 3pm KO).

City have made 189 blocks in the league this season, averaging 12.6 blocks per match. Zak Vyner has made the most (17) ahead of captain Tomas Kalas (14).

“Being solid gives the forward players the chance to express their game,” said Bentley, who has helped earn City six of their seven clean sheets in all competitions this term. “If they know we’re going to be [defensively] solid, we know we’ll create chances and we have the players to take those chances.

“I have full trust in whoever is in front of me in defence, we all share the mindset of clean sheets. We’ve had that in abundance and you can see with the number of blocks we make, be that from close range or further away to stop the ball from going in the goal, and from a goalkeeper’s point of view, it’s great to see.”

 

Dean Holden’s men went on to block six shots during the win in West London in midweek, a result which was the perfect response and prevented City from back-to-back defeats.

Bentley said: “In the first 35 minutes we weren’t at our best but QPR were very good in the first half an hour. They caused us a lot of problems but the adaptation and slight tweaks of shape at half-time and getting the goal before the break knocked the wind out of their sails a little bit.

“Getting the goal to take us into the lead was really pleasing. We soaked up a lot of pressure at times, they’re a good footballing team so we had to be really solid defensively. We were for large parts and the three points away after being 1-0 down was really pleasing.”

He added: “We’re all on social media, we’ve seen the word 'streaky' mentioned and it’s not a word we want to be associated with. We don’t want to win five or go unbeaten in 10 then go on a losing streak or 10 without a win. That’s not how you get promotion. On the back of a loss like Reading, we had to go straight back on the saddle and get three points against a difficult team in QPR."

Bentley puts in the work on the training ground

And City’s experienced goalkeeper now hopes the team will return to Ashton Gate with a similar attitude for the visit of Birmingham this Saturday, which will be streamed exclusively live on Robins TV.

“It’s another opportunity for three points,” he said. “The league is relentless, especially this year. We’ve got Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Wednesday and Fridays in the diary over the coming months, so we have to make sure we’re recovered, rested and sharp as well.

“We go into the game full of confidence and our aim is to make Ashton Gate a difficult place to come…we can’t let people come to our home stadium and take three points off us easily.

“Looking at the season we have had some poor home results in Middlesbrough (L 0-1) and Norwich (L 1-3) and we look to make sure, in the long-run, we don’t lose many games at Ashton Gate. We’re confident and aiming to be solid again.”

Saturday's fixture will be available to watch live on Robins TV for just £10 with pre-match buildup, live commentary, replays and analysis. Coverage starts at 2.30pm.

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