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James Crawley


Posted Friday, February 9th 2018

We're working on fresh ideas - Holden

Bristol City have new tactics up their sleeves to counter their Sky Bet Championship opposition.

Teams have begun to set themselves up more defensively against City's attacking threat and so with just three months to go until the end of the season, the Robins are working harder than ever.

That's the message from assistant head coach Dean Holden, as he reflected on City's warm weather training trip to Dubai ahead of the visit of Sunderland.

The trip came off the back of City's 1-0 defeat against Bolton Wanderers last week and a busy winter schedule.

Speaking on Friday, Holden told BCTV: "We have touched on things this week, we have tried to be better when we have the ball in certain areas and we hope against Sunderland that we will see the fruits of that."

Bolton's win last Friday lifted them out of the bottom three, where Sunderland currently find themselves in the league standings (22nd).

Holden continued: "We have an idea of how Sunderland might set up. We focus on ourselves and how we can be better. We’re looking to get back to the fee-flowing attacking football we have shown most of this season.

"Sunderland come here very experienced themselves with a great manager (Chris Coleman), so we expect them to be very organised and we expect them to hit us on the counter attack. We have to be wary of that and we have to better.

"He’s got certain players in there who’ve been there a long time, he has bought new players too so we know what to expect and we are fully versed on how they are set up.

"The focus is on us. There will be 20,000 fans here which shows how the supporters are getting right behind the team for a fantastic three months ahead of us."


"Sunderland come here very experienced...we expect them to be very organised and we expect them to hit us on the counter attack. We have to be wary of that and we have to better."

Assistant head coach, Dean Holden


Holden added: "The climate allowed us to get on the training pitch and work on a few more tactical areas. Teams play against us different know because they’re aware of our strengths in the attacking areas. Now it’s up to us to be better and find new ways of breaking teams down.

"That was the plan this week on a new training pitch, in good conditions - better than the weather back home I have been told, so it was a chance to get out there and get to grips with some new ideas.

"We could see the new players were coming together towards the end of the trip and that’s invaluable. It was similar to the summer trip in pre-season and it gave the gaffer a chance to speak to the players one-to-one.

"As a player you value that, to be able to speak to him in a relaxed environment and he was able to get across what he wants from each of them.

"We are very grateful to the club for the trip. The gaffer asked Steve Lansdown for money for the trip, which probably wasn’t in the budget, and the club have kindly produced it for us. It will hopefully help us going forward."


City beat Sunderland 2-1 at the Stadium Of Light back in October, thanks to headers from Bobby Reid and Milan Djuric.

Fast forward four months and City are in a play-off promotion fight, while the Black Cats under former Wales boss Coleman are doing all they can to avoid the drop.

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