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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Friday, February 19th 2021

‘We need to play with the shackles off’ – Downing

Keith Downing has outlined the positive, aggressive and higher intensity football the coaches expect to see from City as the group look to bounce back against Barnsley this Saturday. (February 20th, 3pm KO).

Downing and Paul Simpson – who both joined the club as assistant head coaches in the summer –  have overseen training since Tuesday night’s 2-0 defeat against Reading and the subsequent departure of Dean Holden.

The visit of Barnsley to Ashton Gate on Saturday presents City with the chance to refocus and end their poor run of form.

And Downing has explained City have to improve in the opposition’s half in their bid to score more goals.

Watch: Keith Downing pre-Barnsley

 

Being positive in attack

Speaking to Robins TV, Downing said: “There’s a steely determination to put that right and I can see that from the response in training. 

“We’re all conscious we haven’t done enough going forward we haven’t threatened the opposition goal enough. We need to play with more positivity, aggression and intensity to try and get more end product. That’s the aim and the players are determined to do that.”

He added: “We need to be more positive going forward so the emphasis is on being as positive as we can be, take the shackles off a bit and play without fear. They weren’t in the first place but it’s about working hard, with intensity and getting out of this slump.”

Downing casts a strong eye on training

Tough test to come

As for their opponents, the Tykes head to BS3 with some good form put together in recent weeks. They have risen above City in the table with sights set on the top six, having beaten the likes of Brentford and most recently Blackburn Rovers.

Downing said: “They have a direct way of playing with a front three who can cause problems. They have a midfielder who can score goal in Alex Mowatt and they have a way of playing that’s efficient and successful. We watched their good result against Blackburn in midweek and they’ll come here with confidence but it’s about us.

“In this moment we can’t worry about opposition, we’ll be respectful of them but it’s about us being on the front foot, playing with aggression, intensity and get more end product down the pitch and make sure we’re performing to that level [we expect].”

Downing on the touchline alongside former Robins Head Coach Dean Holden

Calling on experience

Downing has been in similar positions before having had to step up and take charge during his coaching spells with the likes of Cheltenham Town and West Brom, and he reflected on Holden’s time.

He continued: “First and foremost, we are all responsible for Dean’s departure. We all feel for him, he’s a good man, a good manager and I am sure he will come back stronger from the experiences and now we’ve got to address the results.

“It’s important we remember what Dean has done for the football club, we’ve been respectful of that and Saturday is a really important result. We have to tackle Barnsley, address this slump we’re in and we can only do that with hard work.

“The players have come back, showed a good response by working hard so we’re ready to go.

“It will be the first time some players have lost a manager and not only that but a man who really cared for them. It’s not easy to get over it but we have to work through it.”

Joe Williams

Downing has also confirmed that midfielder Joe Williams has had a scan on his hamstring and he will see a specialist next week to determine the best course of treatment.

Robins TV

City v Barnsley will be streamed live on Robins TV with the Matchday Show starting at 2.30pm. Rene Gilmartin will be a pundit and co-commentator for the test at Ashton Gate, with the programme costing £10.

The livestream will consist of multi-angle and multi-replay production which will go live at 2.30pm.

The match has been selected for international overseas broadcast, meaning only supporters inside the UK will be able to watch the match on Robins TV, along with fans in dark markets which have not secured international coverage.

SECURE YOUR ROBINS TV PASS HERE

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