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Holden eyes exciting second half of campaign

Dean Holden says City are in position to “mount a challenge” in the second half of the Sky Bet Championship season.

His side are four points off the play-offs places as things stand, with Preston North End visiting Ashton Gate on Saturday (January 16th, 3pm KO) to mark the Robins’ midway point of the league campaign.

Holden will be keen to find more consistency in results and build on a winning start to 2021 after last weekend’s Emirates FA Cup victory over Portsmouth, with a positive atmosphere breeding positivity at the turn of the calendar year.

 

Holden told Robins TV: "It’s an exciting time now. We’re entering the part of the season where it’s all on. We’re fully looking forward to it, there’s a good feeling and spirits are high. We’re in a decent position to mount a challenge now and I can’t wait for it.”

Despite a strong second-half display from City, a Daniel Johnson penalty was enough to seal the Lilywhites a 1-0 win at Deepdale in December. That’s a result behind the camp, such is their moving-forward attitude, though the recent fixture could help with preparations this time around.

Holden said: “We know they’re a tough opponent. They’re always physically strong, they give you a challenge and we have to be up for that. We’ve spoken to the players in detail about that, it’s important in this game particularly.

“We know of the challenge ahead, we’re ready for it after a good week of training, we’re confident and we want go and put our stamp on the game. There’s three points on the table and we go into it very much trying to grab them.”

Kasey Palmer is available for selection this weekend having completed his self-isolation period. Whether or not he will play a part in the fixture remains to be seen but Holden is encouraged to have more options at this relentless period of the season.

The head coach said it was “good to get Alfie Mawson back in the team” last week, adding: “Hakeeb (Adelakun) came back in and they’ll be joined by a couple of others for this (Preston) game, so we’re moving in the right direction.”

The fixture will be live streamed with commentary, replays and analysis via a £10 Robins TV pass, with the matchday show starting at 2.30pm.

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