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Johnson demands City energy under the lights

Lee Johnson wants to see his players respond to the Ashton Gate roar with an energetic display against Aston Villa in front of the Sky TV cameras tonight (7.45pm).

A much-changed City side caused a Carabao Cup upset by ousting Premier League Watford from the competition in midweek.

Now the head coach wants to see more of the same as his side play the last of seven games in 21 days ahead of the international break.

“It’s a Friday night under the lights at Ashton Gate on Sky and it’s up to our players to ensure we give a really good show of ourselves,” Johnson told BCTV.

“I’ve always said that when we’re the underdog the crowd are absolutely superb.

“When you look at the history of Aston Villa and how long they’ve been in the top flight, we’ll be perceived as the underdog.

“Their confidence levels are up and they’re a good side – you only have to look at the finances on offer and the money they’ve spent.

“We’ve got to do everything we can to work hard and make sure our quality comes out.”

WHAT HE SAID

“What’s evident is we have to play with energy. When we play with energy we’re a good side."

Lee Johnson

The boss was asked whether “a couple” of his players who came into the team at Watford were pushing for a starting berth against Villa.

“There are more than a couple,” he said. “I always think about every player and what’s right for the game.

“You’ve got to strike the right balance between leadership, stability of the team and understanding of each other.

“What’s evident is we have to play with energy. When we play with energy we’re a good side, but that’s always the dilemma.

“Brentford changed five or six against us and you could see that made a difference on the day.

“I kept the same team three games in a row, but I changed it against Watford and it proved effective for us, so it’s definitely an option.”

Johnson revealed one new injury concern will definitely miss the Villa game, but Matty Taylor came through his first appearance of the season at Vicarage Road unscathed.

A crowd of 20,000 is already guaranteed at Ashton Gate tonight. The match is pay on the night for home supporters.