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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Monday, December 31st 2018

'Preparation is key' - Holden

Dean Holden says his players are fully focused on making the perfect start to 2019.

Their preparations continue on New Year's Eve, ahead of tomorrow's clash with Gary Rowett's Stoke City at bet365 Stadium.

City's Assistant Head Coach Holden says his players will look to impose themselves on the game quickly, as they go in search of extending their unbeaten run into the new year.

Here's what Holden had to say ahead of the game:

On being a professional footballer on New Year’s Eve

"There are all the noises from celebrations outside and rightly so, it’s a brilliant time of the year but you have to remain totally professional. It’s not easy being a professional footballer, you have to enjoy the moment but not be distracted by anything.

"Preparation as always has to remain spot on, whether you are in the team or not. As a player I got called in on New Year’s Day having not been in the team on New Year’s Eve. But me being me, I was in bed by 10pm on New Year’s Eve. My wife and I would do all the celebrations earlier and then I would get my head down; it’s like any other game, you get your head down early and you’re focused on the next day."

Pressure on the Potters

"They’re a fancied team so there is a lot of pressure on them to get promoted. It took a lot for them to get going. In the second half of our home game we threw everything at them and Jack Butland must have been man of the match."

City ‘relish’ the occasion

"Our players relish the challenge. They are a team who have been in the Premier League for a few years with a big stadium and passionate following. We can’t wait to go there and pit our wits against them.

"We always feel going into the away ground we try to turn the home fans on them quickly and there are different way to do that: frustrate and go after them early, Derby County was another where when Famara Diédhiou hit the bar the fans were starting to turn on them."

Assessment of the season so far

"Come May you want to be promoted and we’re within touching distance of the play-offs which is not a bad place to be.

"We feel our points tally could be higher but we’re a young team, still working heavily on our in-game management. When we go ahead it’s about how we manage those emotions because it’s an emotional game. Do we see the game out, do we go for another goal? We’re working on that a lot with our new players."

Stoke City v City kicks-off at 3pm tomorrow.

There is no pay on the day for the trip to Stoke City. Fans who have already ordered tickets can collect them from the satellite ticket office on the north east corner of the Stadium, next to Delilah’s Bar. The satellite ticket office is open between 1pm and Kick off. Supporters will need to provide ID.