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Holden tests his squad against Swindon

Dean Holden reflected on Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Swindon Town, which rounded off another demanding pre-season week.

Andreas Weimann scored in BS3 as the team continued their preparations, one week before the 2020/21 campaign kick-off.

Head Coach Holden introduced six substitutes against the Wiltshire Robins, and will call on more of his squad to play in a final behind-closed-doors friendly next week.

Holden said: “We’re trying to make the squad strong with good players in each position so the way the calendar’s going with Saturday-Wednesday, we need players - particularly with our high-energy. We need players being able to come in, be fresh and it’s all about every player being ready for that first game.”

On Saturday’s match at Ashton Gate, Holden said: “We created some big chances in the game. I’m disappointed we only took one of them. The goal we scored was well-worked, there was a bit of sloppiness at times, but the players have played in a fatigue state in the last few weeks, they’ve been worked hard so they’re not as fresh as they will be going into the season.

“This is what pre-season is about; coping with 46 games in a short space of time. All-in-all we’re disappointed we didn’t win the game but it’s about getting the players physically and mentally ready for the season.”

As he alluded to, it’s a packed schedule ahead but Holden aims to use this period to get his players ready for that challenge.

Holden added: “Due to Covid and the calendar being what it is, we’ve had to fit the Carabao Cup in before the league season starts so we have to deal and adapt to that. We have another game in the week to prepare our team selection for the Exeter game.”

Following the Swindon friendly, the players who were not involved took part in a fitness session. This included goalkeeper Niki Mäenpää, who continues his rehabilitation with the club, following an ankle injury he suffered towards the end of last season.

Holden has also confirmed Nathan Baker (hamstring) requires a further scan, new signing Joe Williams (thigh) is sidelined, while Liam Walsh (thigh) is now back on the grass.

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