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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Friday, September 18th 2020

Bentley sees City playing football with a smile

Goalkeeper Dan Bentley says the squad are thriving off a culture of playing with their heart on their sleeve and giving nothing but 100%.

It’s that kind of attitude which has provided the perfect start in terms of results to the 2020/21 season.

Bentley starred in City’s opening two wins of the season, as the Robins advanced past Exeter City in the Carabao Cup, before last weekend’s Sky Bet Championship opener versus Coventry City.

He was one of nine changes for Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup Round Two games, where City overcame Northampton Town 4-0.

Max O’Leary kept the Robins’ second clean sheet of the season in that fixture, but it was a complete team effort with the squad praised for their attitude and application in the cup tie.

It gives Head Coach Dean Holden a selection headache for Sunday’s (September 20th, 2pm KO) league trip to Stoke City – which is exclusively available to watch on Robins TV - and Bentley sees that as a positive.

The shot-stopper said: “It’s been a really good start and the manager has been drumming on about momentum and how every game is another chance to go and stake a claim for the shirt and impress. The squad we have brought together is really strong, as we saw against Northampton Town.

“The boys on the periphery with fewer minutes put in a strong, solid performance so it shows the competition for places here. Three wins from three is exactly what we want to get us going.

“I was briefly speaking to the gaffer about how it was a joy to watch [the Northampton Town game], especially the second half. The first half an hour was a bit of a scrap, a bit sloppy but when we got the ball down confidently, we dominated the game and we showed another level of what can be achieved when we are that dominant on the ball.

“That’s no disrespect to Northampton but we want to take the performance into the Championship, albeit we know it might be a little bit more difficult.”

Bentley hopes to return in goal against the Potters this weekend, as City go in search of a fourth-straight win in all competitions, and a third-consecutive victory at the bet365 Stadium.

“Stoke are always a difficult team to play against,” Bentley continued. “The game at their place early last season was tough, yes we got a result (1-2) and it was a good away day, but you saw when they came to Ashton Gate in July (1-1) how dangerous they can be on the break. They are physical so as a minimum we have to match that, but we want to go there and play as we have been.”

He added: “When we’re dominating, when we’re solid and resilient at the back that’s the outlook we want to take up to Stoke and every game thereafter.”

The group are now into their sixth week under the permanent management of Head Coach Holden and keeper Bentley suggests it has been a seamless process, even with Keith Downing and Paul Simpson arriving as his new assistants.

“He (Holden) still gave us clear messages, clear ways of playing and how he expected our mentality to be,” Bentley said, referring to Holden’s temporary role in charge at the end of last season. “There wasn’t much to be changed, or things turning on their head all of a sudden, it was more of an extension from what we did towards the end of last season.

“Now we have Keith and Paul with slightly different tactical views on attacking, defending and everything in between but the manager’s way is 100%. Your heart is on your sleeve and you make sure you leave every ounce you have on the pitch.

“That’s what he drives into the players and at the end of the day he wants us to enjoy playing our football. I think you can clearly see in the last three games there are smiles on the boys’ faces, they’re desperate to play and that’s the culture he is bringing into the football club.”

Watch in full: Dan Bentley pre-Stoke City (A)

 

Robins TV

Sunday’s match is available to watch on Robins TV where Rene Gilmartin will be a pundit and offering his thoughts on the fixture.

With coverage starts at 1.30pm, the enhanced Robins TV matchday programme features multi-angle, multi-replay production, commentary and expert analysis, all for just £10.

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