League leaders Bristol City will be looking to get back to winning ways when they welcome Middlesbrough to Ashton Gate on Tuesday.
Cauley Woodrow’s penalty in the 12th minute of second-half injury time meant the Robins were forced to settle for a draw on Saturday and lost their 100% record in the Championship.
Speaking after the game, Holden suggested the result had handed his squad their first “punch on the nose” this term and it was now about all about how they responded.
It will be interesting to see how the City head coach looks to respond to his first real setback as permanent boss and with that in mind, we’ve outlined two tweaks he could make to the XI for tomorrow’s clash…
Starting Tomas Kalas
After recovering from injury over the past few weeks, the City captain was brought on as a second-half substitute to sure things up against the Tykes and Holden could look to use him from the start against Boro.
Alfie Mawson, Zak Vyner, and Taylor Moore have formed a solid back three in his absence but at his best, Kalas is among the finest central defenders in the Championship so it would make sense to reintroduce him after conceding twice against the Tykes.
The Czech Republic international will also give them some added physicality, something that is likely to be important against Neil Warnock’s side.
Kalas’ only start of the season saw him used as the middle of the three centre-backs, which hints that it could be Moore – who has impressed in that position since – that makes way.
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Rotating his wing-backs
The 3-5-2 system that Holden has favoured so far this season is reliant on the energy and dynamism of the two wing-backs and the City boss may look to freshen things up at that position on Tuesday.
If he looks to make that change, Jack Hunt is likely to be replaced by Ryan Sessegnon on the right, while Jay Dasilva or Callum O’Dowda are the candidates to be used in place of Tommy Rowe on the left.
The game against Barnsley was the first of three games in a week for the Robins, with Boro in midweek and Swansea City on Saturday, so changing things up on the flanks should mean Holden’s wing-backs are as fresh as possible in both games and that could be key to their success.