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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Friday, June 19th 2020

Momentum key for the run-in

Lee Johnson says his squad are prepared as best they can be for football’s return, as he takes his team to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday (June 20th, 3pm) - the first of the final nine scheduled 2019/20 Sky Bet Championship games.

The match, only available to watch on Robins TV with an hour’s pre-match show, will be City’s first competitive fixture since March 7th with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing elite sport to be suspended.

But the players have been back in training for a number of weeks in anticipation of the season’s resumption and with the remaining games in the Championship getting the green light, it’s now (albeit with some rule changes) business as usual.

“I’m happy to be back and it’s important for the industry that we get back. We thank the players because football returning saves a lot of jobs within the industry and now it’s down to the fine detail,” Head Coach Lee Johnson told the club website ahead of the trip to Blackburn.

“The break has served us well, we have key players back and a squad in a clean bill of health, with a positive mindset. It’s now up to us to come out the blocks.

“I don’t think we’re frightened of the unknown, but we remain confident in ourselves because of our preparation. We’ve prepared as well as we possibly could. People have done brilliant work to keep the players safe and it’s been a relatively easy process because of the trust everyone has at this club.

“As I say, I’m feeling really happy. It’s been fantastic work from everybody to get football back on and in that I include players, governing bodies and club officials. We have got to this point relatively quickly considering how the world has changed.

“People like our Player Liaison Offer Matt Parsons and our COVID Officers, Sam Morse and Andy Rolls, have done some sterling work all hours of the day to get things ready. Just seeing some of the stewards, the ground staff and other people from a distance in the Amber Zone at Ashton Gate the other day was great, and what it’s taught us is we appreciate our people even more, regardless of the perceived size of their role and that’s huge for us to be successful,” Johnson said.

City head to Ewood Park just one point outside the play-offs, meanwhile Blackburn operate 10th spot just two points behind the Robins with the run-in looking like it will be as hotly contested as ever.

There’s plenty at stake and Johnson believes City are up for the challenge.

He said: “I can’t guarantee promotion but I can guarantee we are in a position where we will fight for every point and if we can build momentum then we will, as we have shown before, prove that we will be a powerful beast.”
Supporters are reminded that the only way to watch the game live is with the club’s in-house channel Robins TV, which includes a one-hour pre-match Robins TV Live show with all the build-up, plus half-time analysis and full-time reaction as well as the game itself!

Season Card holders have been sent redeemable voucher codes in order to enjoy the next nine games, regardless of whether they have been chosen for broadcast by Sky Sports.

Non-Season Card holders will be able to purchase a £10 matchday pass for matches which have not been selected by Sky Sports only.

Login to Robins TV

Paterson speaks to the media via a Zoom call

"We know where we are in the league and what we still need to do, all the hard work the lads have done all season will stand us in good stead. We’re still in the same season and we have a lot to play for. We’re all ready and raring to go."

Jamie Paterson

The whole squad have been back together for some time in preparation for football’s return but while the players remained focus on individual focus from their own homes during lockdown, Paterson spoke of how he had missed the camaraderie and day-to-day routine.

“You miss the banter, the laughs and seeing the lads every day,” he said. “You make friends in football, you get used to seeing them every day. It’s difficult being at home without a sort of purpose or a game at the weekend to reward all the running you’ve done in the week but we’ve been working hard, we had a hard schedule and now we’re fit and raring to go.”

The rest of the season is being played behind closed doors, meaning there is no public access for supporters at any of the remaining fixtures. It means Robins TV will be the go-to platform to see City in action over the course of the following nine matches.

Paterson, who has been on the scoresheet three times sine his return from loan in January, encourages supporters to tune into the stream to support the Robins. He said: “You can be a fan from home and knowing they are all there on Robins TV, we want to impress as always. If I was a supporter I’d be there, knee sliding in the living room if we score a last-minute winner, so hopefully we get to do that for the fans.”

And as for the new look, Paterson says his hair could be about to get even longer…

“I’m starting to like,” he admitted, with no access to the barbers due to the lockdown. Ed [in the media department] has been giving me some stick but everyone else has given me positive comments. I might grow it and see how I go. If I don’t play it after the first game I might have to have a hair cut!”

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