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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Thursday, September 24th 2020

Holden relishing Aston Villa test

Dean Holden says he has a squad full of belief ahead of their Carabao Cup Round Three fixture at home to Aston Villa on Thursday (September 24th, 7pm KO).

The Robins may be early into a long and challenging season, but confidence is rightly high after four consecutive wins in all competitions and their early form has been rewarded with that home tie against Premier League opposition.

It’s a chance for Holden to come up against Villa manager Dean Smith, who gave Holden his first coaching opportunity when the pair worked at Walsall.

“He was fantastic for me, he gave me some training sessions to take care of with the younger players. I learnt a lot, in the way he goes about things,” said Holden, but rest assured the focus will be getting the upper hand over his former colleague.

“It’s a competitive game we want to win,” The Robins head coach added. “I’m not interested whether it’s a league or cup games we just want to win the game. They’re a Premier League team, it’s another big test for us and whoever goes out there from the start or off the bench are putting in good performances.

“Players are feeling confident and they’ve got a lot of belief in how they’re playing.”

But Holden knows how gruelling the road ahead will be and he is quick to stress that City are far from the finished article.

He said: “All-in-all it’s been a very good start but it’s been only four games. There’s a long season ahead so I’m never one to get carried away but spirit is building nicely.

“We worked out this morning, taking away matchday prep, we’ve only had nine or ten full training sessions as a group so it’s really early days. It’s about embedding the way we want to play, movement without the ball, new staff getting to grips with things and new players have come in. There’s a ton of work to do but the lads are feeling confident, I’m enjoying watching us play at the moment.

“The way we’re moving the ball in possession we’ve been outstanding at times. But it’s not just about with the ball, I’m not too interested in possession stats, it’s about what you do when you’ve got it. We’ve created chances, we’ve been clinical with the chances and we’re looking strong defensively.”

He added: “All the performances are not where we want them to be but it’s pleasing, we are moving in the direction we want to be [heading in].”

Watch in full: Dean Holden previews Aston Villa Carabao Cup test

 

Follow City in the Carabao Cup Round Three

City fans in the UK will be able to watch the Carabao Cup Round Three match against Aston Villa on the competition’s official streaming site – Carabao Cup Live – for just £10.

The winner of the Round Three tie will face Stoke City or Gillingham at home in Round Four.

WATCH ON CARABAO CUP LIVE

A live audio pass for the Round Three fixture is available on Robins TV for £2.50.

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