Duane Holmes needs to be just as sharp off the ball as he is on it.

Those are the instructions from manager Mark Robins if the 19-year-old is to parade his natural skills on the Championship stage from August 9.

Holmes has become a favourite with the crowd in his 19 senior appearances – he also made five on loan with Yeovil last season – and Robins felt the USA-born prospect show more of the defensive qualities he’s looking for in the 4-1 victory against Guiseley.

“At times Duane was exciting and, at times, he was frustrating,” said Robins, now focusing on the friendly against Scunthorpe at Glanford Park.

“For me it’s about his workrate and his work ethic when we haven’t got the ball and, against Guiseley, that was a lot better than it has been of late.

 

“It’s an important thing – not just for Duane but for everybody – because when we are not in possession we have to be better.

“I’ve been saying this ever since I came into the club and nothing has changed – we have to be better when we haven’t got the ball because otherwise it can end up in our net.

“We need to win it back as quickly as we can and we need to supply the really talented individuals we’ve got in forward areas of the pitch, people who can stick the ball in the back of the net.”

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