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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Friday, August 31st 2018

Well Red meets: Niki Mäenpää

Niki has been thrown straight into first-team football, having featured in every minute of Championship action this season, so Well Red sits down to catch up with the club’s Finnish shot-stopper.

What is your assessment of the start to our season?

"We have only one point from our first two games at home so we have to change that. We need to make Ashton Gate a hard place for other people to come to.

"Our mindset has to be on taking the three points against Blackburn Rovers but it will be a tough game, they are all difficult games in the Championship.

"It’s a good league with good teams and we know we have to be at our best to compete with everyone else."

Even someone as experienced as yourself, do you still learn new things about your position?

"Of course, people are always learning every day.

"There’s nothing different about being a goalkeeper even at 33 I am learning from different coaches’ methods and picking up new things to always improve. Learning doesn’t stop for anybody.

Who do you look up to, who were your idols growing up?

"When I was young I looked up to Peter Schmeichel but I really like the modern style of goalkeepers too, like Iker Casillas.

"He had an amazing career at Real Madrid and I enjoyed watching him play. I was pleased to meet him a couple of times and exchange shirts too so that was good.

What do you make of football back in Finland?

"Well it has been some time since I moved away but it has improved, it’s heading in the right direction but I don’t follow it that much.

"I know it’s still not the biggest sport in Finland, it’s behind ice hockey which gets a bigger following, more media attention and we have had more success in ice hockey so maybe that’s why football is second or third choice.

"There is still a lot of work to do but it is getting there slowly."

Mäenpaää in action

Bristol City return to Sky Bet Championship action at home to Blackburn Rovers this Sunday (September 31st, 1.30pm).

Tickets remain on general sae for the fixture, available from the link below.

CITY V Blackburn - TICKETS

This is a preview from inside the next Well Red matchday programme - available to buy from around Ashton Gate for just £3.50

Be sure to pick up a copy of the matchday programme for the full interview, complete with Augmented Reality features when used with the new and free official Bristol City app, which can be downloaded through Google Play or the App Store.

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