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Downing excited by Robins’ vision

Despite being at the club less than 72 hours, Assistant Head Coach Keith Downing says it is already clear to see the talent and potential within the City camp.

Having watched the squad undergo intense testing in sweltering heat and delivering his first grass-based session, Downing is now fully focused on everyone being well-drilled, both physically and tactically, for the opening weekend of the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship season.  

All the first-team squad are back at Failand with the exception of Famara Dièdhiou. The 27-year-old is currently following the necessary COVID-19 procedures and is continuing self-isolation following a trip to Senegal at the start of the two-week off-season.

Speaking to Robins TV for the first time since his arrival from the Football Association, Downing said: “I’m really enjoying it. I met the players on Monday and then watched them do the physical testing – they’ve all come back in good shape with a really good attitude to the work.

“We had our first day on the grass with the balls yesterday (Wednesday) and it’s really interesting to see their levels, both fitness and technical. They really seem a good bunch, who really want to work hard and do well for the club, so the first couple of days I’ve really enjoyed.

DOWNING DELIVERS EXERCISE TACTICS

“The balance now is getting the players up to speed and being ready to go for that first game. We have to make sure the conditioning is right along with the technical and tactical detail, so everyone is clear, and they have their roles, responsibilities and accountabilities. Getting all that in within three, four, five weeks is really important.

“Team bonding is also important, making sure we are working together and pulling each other through, and I’ve seen that already. There’s been really good bonding and support for each other so I am impressed.

“But proof is in the pudding on that first game. In pre-season you can have some fantastic games, win all of them and then have a slow start, and vice-versa. So, the big thing is keeping everyone fit and well, ready for selection for that first game.”

Alongside fellow assistant Paul Simpson, Downing is excited for the challenge ahead, particularly working under Dean Holden – a head coach he has already been impressed with.

“There’s no particular sole role we (Keith and Paul Simpson) are responsible for,” he added. “I think it’s generally as assistants trying to help Dean with his selection and the coaching side of it.

“But Dean is his own man and I’ve been impressed, even on the first two days he has taken to it really comfortably. So, support, helping out and improving players is my role and that’s something I really enjoy and have done for 25 years in the game.

DOWNING WATCHES ON IN A TRAINING DRILL

“The facilities available to us are great, but I keep saying, ‘a building is a building’. It’s what’s in them and what the people inside them are like that counts. The people that work here are for the club, there’s a real tight bonding and I’m really impressed with it, it’s a really friendly club and we have a job to do now.

“We have to make sure we try and create some history. The club has never been in the Premier League but it’s a great vision to look for. However, we’ve got some hard work in front of us to try and achieve it.”

Supporters are advised that the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship fixture list will be released on Friday, August 21st at 9am.

VIEW CITY'S HUMMEL TRAINING RANGE 

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