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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Saturday, January 6th 2018

Youngsters share DNA of this club - Holden

Dean Holden has heaped praise on City's youngsters after their dogged display against Watford in the Emirates FA Cup.

Opi Edwards and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans were handed their City debuts at Vicarage Road as the home side ran out 3-0 winners.

But the assistant head coach had nothing but praise for the young City stars.

It was a Robins side of mixed experience, with the likes of Lloyd Kelly, Zak Vyner, Freddie Hinds and Gustav Engvall also featuring in the FA Cup third round tie.

Goals from Andre Carrillo, Troy Deeney and Etienne Capoue sealed Watford's place in the next round.

Speaking to BCTV, Holden said: "Watford had the quality in the final third. We've come to a Premier League opposition who have gone pretty much full strength as they've made only a few changes and we made quite a few.

"They (Watford) experienced a lot of possession in the first half but we got more on the front foot in the second half. At 2-0 we had chances to get back into the game; Matty Taylor had a header and (Gustav) Engvall had a chance, maybe there's a shout for a penalty, so if we score at 2-0 it could be a different game.

"That's 'ifs and buts' but we've thrown caution to the wind, they've got a third and on paper it's a 3-0 defeat but we've got four academy lads that have started today and you can see the DNA and the philosophy of the club, the way they play and handle themselves. That's fantastic going forward.

FA CUP EXIT DISAPPOINTMENT

"Of course, we're hugely disappointed to be going out of the FA Cup but we've had an incredible schedule and we have huge games to come.

"It's a difficult position that we find ourselves in, as staff to pick teams at this point of the season. You want to go as strong as you can every single game, we saw in the Aston Villa that some of the lads were struggling from the schedule that we've had so we picked a team that could give it a right good go and we did that today.

WE GAVE IT A GOOD GO

"We want to win every game and the FA Cup is a huge competition - everybody looks forward to it. For now we are disappointed but the main thing is we've given it a good go. Tthe travelling support was behind us right until the final whistle which is great to see.

"The young lads would have gained experienced today, coming up against a very good Premier League team. The senior lads who played with them were helping them along too and it was good signs.

ACADEMY PLAYERS ARE READY TO STEP UP

"Opi has been with Bath City recently, going from one level to a Premier League backyard. It's a huge step up for him but he's acquitted himself fantastically well. You can see the attributes that he has got. He was up against a tough, quick left-back but Opi got past him a few times and he did very well.

"Connor got on the ball, moved it well and he's a very good footballer. You can see the DNA right through the club. They came into the team and performed very well. Freddie (Hinds) has played already this season, scored a good goal.

"Our full-backs Zak Vyner and Lloyd Kelly did very well again and the signs there for the future of the club look very good."

He added there are "plenty of players in the underbelly who are ready to step up when we need them."

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ON BCTV