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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Friday, January 17th 2020

Why Holden is relishing home advantage

Dean Holden says Ashton Gate must be a place feared by visiting opposition, ahead of Barnsley’s visit to BS3 this weekend.

The Tykes head to Bristol in the relegation zone, though under new manager Gerhard Struber appear somewhat revived having lost only twice since December.

There is no hiding from City’s festive form but off the back of last weekend’s hard-earned 2-0 away win at Wigan Athletic, the Robins have a chance to push themselves back into the play-off mix.

Assistant Head Coach Holden said: “We have had a few downs in recent times but we had a great win at Wigan last Saturday and that’s what we have to remember. We have a great team of players and when we pull together with the supporters at Ashton Gate, there is no place like it.

“It’s the players getting the supporters out of their seats, it’s the supporters cheering the players on when things aren’t quite going our way and the full focus is on a great game against Barnsley. It’s a challenge we face head on, one we are ready for and we hope to send our fans home happy.”

Cauldron of noise: Section 82 singing their hearts out earlier in the season

Of course, there was Tuesday’s Emirates FA Cup exit but having had time to reflect and assess, Holden believes City can “channel that frustration and use it to our advantage as best as we can.”

He added: “There are going to be punches on the nose, that’s the game of football, it’s why we all love it. We didn’t love that feeling after the [Shrewsbury Town] game the other night, but we’ve got to make sure we focus on getting that good feeling back around Ashton Gate.”

Full focus is now on the Sky Bet Championship. Barnsley’s visit to Ashton Gate marks the first of 19 remaining fixtures and the aim of breaking into the play-offs and going for promotion between now and May continues to be the aim.

And Holden knows exactly the type of football City need to show if they are to give themselves the best chance of picking up more positive results.

“We are at our best when we do come out on the front foot and we’re aggressive in every part of our play, with and without the ball,” he said. “Barnsley are a decent team and they’ve had a good recent run of results but we’re at home at Ashton Gate, this is our stadium and we want to make sure no teams come here and enjoy the experience.”

City v Barnsley kicks off at 3pm this Saturday (January 18th).

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