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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Thursday, August 12th 2021

Interview: ‘I’m ready to attack the season’ – Atkinson

Rob Atkinson is looking to build on his impressive City debut as he prepares for a trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday (August 14th, 3pm KO).

The defender played 90 minutes against the Seasiders on his club debut, ranking highest for touches made (64) and joint-first for interceptions (two). He also won five of his six aerial duels, looked comfortable alongside his defensive partners and in bringing the ball forward.

“From an individual point of view it’s been very good,” Atkinson told Robins TV. “I feel very fit, I have played plenty of minutes [after pre-season] and I’m ready to attack this season.”

Watch: Rob Atkinson pre-Middlesbrough

 

He continued: “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous [on my debut] but that was to be expected. It went very well, not with the last-minute equaliser but from a selfish point of view it did go well. The main thing for me was playing in front of fans again because it had been such a long time.”

He received a warm welcome from the BS3 crowd and now he’s looking ahead to an away day following on Teesside, as he relished the opportunity to play in front of an audience.

“For me, as someone who hasn’t played in front of large crowds regardless of Covid, it was staggering to walk out at Ashton Gate with the noise and atmosphere and if anything, it made me play better,” said Atkinson.

“I’m very excited to play in front of the away fans. Hopefully we can take a few up there because I know it’s a long journey. We’ll be very thankful to anyone who can make that journey.”

Rob Atkinson against Blackpool

The 23-year-old was as disappointed as anyone when Blackpool equalised with one of the last kicks of the game last weekend and after his team-mates suffered a similar fate in midweek, he stressed these were experiences to learn from.

He said: “It is early days and you don’t know who will be where come five game’s time, it’s hard to predict the table in such an unpredictable league. We must take each game as they come and see where that gets us.

“It’s been tough but football is an unforgiving sport. For it to happen twice shows we have to start switching on at the end of games. It’s easy to sit here and say that but we must go and do it. I can’t speak for the Forest Green Rovers match but against Blackpool we felt very in control and comfortable.

“It was sucker punch at the end, and it shows you can never switch off in football. It’s tough but we must learn from it, carry on in the next few games.”

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