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‘You can’t call the Championship…that’s the beauty of it’ – Holden

The Sky Bet Championship standings are often impossible to call: anyone can beat anyone, as the cliché goes, but it’s the opportunity and the thrill of each new test which excites Dean Holden.

The Robins find themselves fifth after kicking off December with a 2-1 win against QPR, one point behind leaders Norwich City. There’s still plenty of football to be played of course, but Holden is determined to keep his squad in the hunt.

Their next opportunity to do that comes tomorrow against Birmingham City (December 5th, 3pm KO) – the first of two home games in a busy December schedule.

 

City Head Coach Holden told Robins TV: “It was a really big three points the other night against a good QPR team and this will be a different test. They (Birmingham) are a team with experience under Aitor Karanka who I have a lot of respect for, so it’s going to be a tough game but another challenge to get three points and push up the table.

“We’ve got to keep picking up points. They don’t come easy but we have to keep picking up points, putting performances in and staying in that pack.”

Speaking about the relentless nature of the division, with so many teams separated by few points, he added: “That’s the beauty of it – it’s a brilliant opportunity going into every game knowing if you get your performance right, you have the chance for three points.”

Holden oversaw a comeback win at QPR on Tuesday night

Birmingham find themselves heading to Ashton Gate on the back of a six-game winless run. But Holden knows to be wary, there are “no easy games” and he will not want a repeat of going up against an out-of-form Reading from last weekend. City are on home soil though, and Holden hopes that will be beneficial for his team’s system.

“They have some experienced players, very good technical players in midfield and Jutkiewicz if he players is a threat for any team. He (Karanka) always has his teams well organised, they’re defensively sound but we’re at home so the onus is on us to take the game to Birmingham and strive for the three points,” he said.

And Holden has also been working with more players from the development squad this week. Fans may have noticed Sam Bell, Zak Smith and Sam Pearson of the Development Group in the latest Failand Uncut training footage.

Watch: City prepare to take on Birmingham City

 

They join Ryley Towler and Opi Edwards who linked up with the first team squad earlier in the campaign.

“It’s a great opportunity to get them with us,” said Holden. “In normal circumstances they’re training on the pitch next to you, so if you need players for a certain session you can call them across but because of Covid we have bubbles so we’ve made decisions based on the squad size.

“These three guys join us and maybe one more after the FA Youth Cup game. It’s next Monday at 1pm which is a shame because it means we [myself and the coaching staff] will be preparing for the Blackburn game. It’s a shame because the FA Youth Cup is a huge event for the football club. They’ve trained brilliantly and they’ll stay with us for the foreseeable future.”

Tomorrow's fixture will be available to watch live on Robins TV for just £10 with pre-match buildup, live commentary, replays and analysis. Coverage starts at 2.30pm.

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