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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Thursday, January 25th 2018

We take cup spirit into the Championship - Holden

City's focus returns to the Sky Bet Championship following the end of an incredible Carabao Cup run.

Former Bristol Rovers player and boss Ian Holloway brings his Queens Park Rangers to Ashton Gate on Saturday (3pm kick-off); City's first opponents after the conclusive semi-final second leg encounter with Manchester City.

And Dean Holden has spoken of how the inspired cup run - including four consecutive wins against Premier League teams - has created a special spirit among the camp.

Following Tuesday night's clash with Pep Guardiola's side, the Robins squad has focused on recovery sessions, before getting stuck into their pre-QPR training schedule.

Assistant head coach Holden told BCTV: "Going as far back as the first round against Plymouth Argyle, we have used many players in the squad. We've beaten four Premier League teams and have gone to-to-toe with the best team in Europe (Manchester City).

"Ultimately we've been knocked out by two late goals.

"The lads, for the way they have approached every game in the competition, deserve a lot of credit. The club and our fans have been talked about on a global scale, which has been great.

"Being from Manchester myself I know a lot of (Manchester) City fans have talked about the semi-final first leg (2-1) and they said they hadn't felt an atmosphere like that at the Etihad Stadium for quite a few years."

WATCH: HOLDEN REFLECTS ON CUP RUN AHEAD OF QPR

"MASSIVE" SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON

He added: "It's done now. We can look back on it with pride but now we have a massive three-and-a-half months ahead of us to make sure we have nights like that every other week here at Ashton Gate.

"It creates a spirit we might not have had without it; the results, the emotion and some of the incidents we have had along the way, the players really felt the love from the fans."

FOCUS ON THE LEAGUE

With February on the horizon, City are still in the midst of the play-off picture, sitting fifth as they welcome QPR to BS3 on Saturday.

Holden added: "The focus now has to stay on the league and that's the challenge for the players.

"We expect them to fully focus on QPR, which will be a tough game at the weekend and Mr Holloway is coming back here so there will be added spice to that.

"The place will be rocking and it's up to us to get back to winning ways in the league and that's what we want to do quickly.

He continued: "Going out of the cup now, even though it was just one more game to go, it gives everyone the chance to have an extra couple of days between fixtures to fully focus on the next game.

"We're on an even keel now with the rest of the Championship. We have the same preparation time as them now so that's a positive."

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