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'To see how much the players and staff have given' - proud Holden

A proud Dean Holden hailed his players and staff for their response after a turbulent international break behind the scenes.

The club were unable to prepare as planned for the visit of Derby County on Saturday, after a number of Covid-19 cases in the last two weeks.

Yet despite the lack of training, the group got back together and battled at Ashton Gate to secure a 1-0 win through substitute Famara Diédhiou’s well-taken second-half strike.

Robins Head Coach Holden was thankful, not just for the safety but also the application of his players and staff.

 

“I couldn’t be prouder, not just with the players on the pitch but the support staff,” he said.

“Some haven’t been allowed to the game today due to protocols but they’ve put the work in all week. We’ve not shouted from the rooftops about what we’ve been through, but it’s been a terrible time since the Cardiff game!

“I get asked about a game of football but we’ve been worried for people’s welfare, a positive test is a worrying time.

“We’ve had to call on the spirit we’ve been building and put in a performance like that.

“Derby are bottom of the table but this was one of the toughest games of the season. They are nowhere near where they should be in the league because they have fantastic players.”

He added: “We had players flying back from across the world. I won’t make too much of it – but to see how much they’ve given for that badge today - I’m buzzing about that.”

Diédhiou came off the bench to score his first goal of the season. Jamie Paterson slid Antoine Semenyo down the right and the youngster grabbed his sixth assist of the campaign when his cutback picked out the unmarked Diédhiou. The striker took one touch to control the ball and another to shoot low under Rams keeper David Marshall to send City third in the table.

Holden continued: “We’ve had a substitute impact the game but that doesn’t happen by chance – that’s down to how Fam trains and keeps his mind right when he’s not in the team. He had a great second half at Huddersfield, missed Cardiff but he got his reward with a fantastic finish.

“It was a great ball from Pato to Antoine in the 78th minute and Antoine has the ability to keep running. Even after not training for two weeks, he then had the calmness and presence of mind to see Famara and pick him out with a really good pass. What a moment it was for Fam to score and I can’t say anymore on my pride for that performance.
“It’s a testament to the man. He’s with us every day in training. The players coming off the bench feel part of it and that’s a great thing for me.

“The work in pre-season has been so important because we’ve had no preparation for this game. We would like to have worked on tinkering the system during the break but we couldn’t. We had to take the excuses away and deal what was in front of us. That was a big game against a top team but it’s three wins on the bounce, back-to-back clean sheets and I’m very proud.

“Now we have some training sessions leading into Watford on Wednesday. We don’t know how the players will recover from this because we hadn’t trained prior but we’ll see where we are at come Monday.”

Wednesday night's match against the Hornets (7.45pm KO) is live on Sky Sports.

Season Card holders should have received a FREE streaming pass code emailed ahead of the recently televised fixture against Norwich City. Season Card holders will not have to enter their unique voucher code again as access to Sky TV home matches will automatically be granted once logged into Robins TV.

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