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Holden wants front foot start

Dean Holden has encouraged his players to stick to the gameplan as they look to continue their unbeaten start to the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship season.

Holden has overseen four wins and a draw in the league, following Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Barnsley. Holden described the result as a “bump on the nose” but just three days’ later City have the chance to get back to winning ways when they host Middlesbrough this evening (7.45pm KO).

“It’s still a little bit sore but we’re ready for the next fight,” Holden said, as he moved his thoughts from Saturday to Tuesday. “We want to start games as we did against Nottingham Forest only a couple of games ago. We want to start on the front foot and it’s not always easy to do that.

“Barnsley came flying out of the traps, we had a lapse of concentration but responded okay after their goal, without playing our best game. We still created big chances in that first half, so it was important we gave a response in the second, which we did. We couldn’t quite go and get the win, we had the chance to get three and we’ve addressed those issues. Now we have to move on quickly.”

“We have to look at where the players are at, physically and mentally. We’re concentrating on what’s working well and we know Middlesbrough will pose a different threat, so we know what to expect. When we went up there last season it was about playing with our style so that performance was something we’ll be looking to replicate tonight.”

Acting as then Interim Head Coach, Holden steered the Robins to a 3-1 win over Boro at the Riverside Stadium, courtesy of Andreas Weimann’s bag of assists to set up a Jamie Paterson goal and Nahki Wells’ brace.

“It was early into my tenure so that was about building confidence in performances and results at that part of the season. We’re in a different period with new players and I’m trying to build all the time,” he said.

Holden got the upper hand over the vastly experienced Neil Warnock in the battle of the dugout that day, but Holden remains complimentary towards his opponent, who took charge of his 1,500th match earlier this month.

“For anyone to be involved in football management for that period of time is a phenomenal achievement, so credit where it’s due,” Holden said, as he shifted focus towards the visit of Boro.

“They have good players but that’s always the case in the Championship. They have experience and pace upfront, they play direct and it’s about handling their threats and making sure that when we win the ball back, we play to our style.”

City v Boro will be streamed live on Robins TV, complete with commentary, replays, and analysis via Robins TV. The matchday stream starts at 7.15pm followed by all the action from Ashton Gate.

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