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‘Now it’s about action’ – Holden

Dean Holden expects City to lift their performance levels when they take on Sheffield United in the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round (February 10th, 7.30pm KO).

The head coach takes his side to Bramall Lane after back-to-back defeats in the Sky Bet Championship, including a 2-0 Severnside derby loss on Saturday.

It was a disappointing afternoon but Holden says Wednesday’s opportunity is a chance for his players to prove themselves after dissecting performances in the Cardiff game.

 

“It’s a fantastic game for us against a Premier League team,” Holden told Robins TV. “It’s been a long week with some honest conversations with the players and now it’s about action. I’m really looking forward to showing what we’re about because we’ve let ourselves down recently, this is a great time to respond and it’s a great game.”

He continued: “It’s a brilliant game for us. It doesn’t matter whether it’s played on a weekend or Wednesday night, it’s an evening game under the lights, on a good surface up there and it’s a chance for us to pit our wits against them so who knows in a cup competition.

“We have to prove to ourselves and our supporters. There were some angry fans after the weekend and rightly so, because we share the same feelings. We were nowhere near the levels for a derby game and now four days later we have to prove what we’re about, get to our best and that’s why I’m looking forward to it.

“Now it’s about everybody stepping up to the plate and showing the best version of themselves, galvanising the man next to them, lift confidence and go out with a point to prove.”

Diédhiou netted against Portsmouth in the Third Round
Semenyo was head over heels after scoring v Millwall in the Fourth Round

Holden highlighted the positives of a cup run as City have already knocked out Portsmouth (2-1) and Millwall (3-0) in the previous rounds, with the next test against Sheffield United standing in their way of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since 1974.

Holden said: “It can give you momentum, it gives you the feel-good factor, everyone loves a good cup competition and it’s a one-off on the night. We’ll go there very positive, looking to get a positive result and kick-start our season.”

Not that it will be easy against top-flight opposition, regardless of their struggles over the course of the campaign. The Blades are bottom of the Premier League table having only recorded their first win of the campaign in January but Holden believes it could be a tight affair.

“They’ve had a couple of years in the Premier League and did fantastic last season. They won 10 games by the odd-goal last season but a lot of the games they’ve lost this year have been by the odd-goal, so it shows you the fine margins by comparison,” he said. “They’re still a very good team by the way they play, their style and it’s a tough game for us. But it’s one players want to be involved in against a top manager with a good team. It’s about us getting back to our performance levels and showcasing what we are about and that’s why I’m looking forward to it.”

The match will be broadcast live on BBC iPlayer and accessible via the red button to supporters inside the UK. Click here for full details but supporters should note the match will not be streamed on Robins TV.

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