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Carabao Cup

EFL Exclusive: “Anything can happen” - Bristol City's Aden Flint

23 January 2018

Bristol City of the Sky Bet Championship are just one game away from Wembley, and a place in the Carabao Cup Final. It all sounds so simple, but one obstacle stands in the way. That obstacle? Manchester City, arguably the finest team in Europe right now.

That said, the Robins more than matched their opponents in the first leg at the Etihad, and were only denied a 1-1 draw by a late Sergio Aguero header. It's very much still all to play for at Ashton Gate.

Central defender Aden Flint is one of the reasons for that. He made a brilliant goal-line clearance in that fixture a fortnight ago, and he's well aware that his side are capable of upsetting the odds over 90 minutes, or perhaps longer.

There's still plenty of belief in the Ashton Gate dressing room, and why not? The Robins have beaten Premier League opposition on the way, including Manchester United, and Championship promotion is very much in sight. A far cry from last season's struggles, and it also seems an age since Flint's future was up in the air.

“You have to think about the challenge we're facing – it's Manchester City,” said Flint, ahead of Tuesday night's second leg. “They're probably the champions elect, they're flying high with a squad full of unbelievable talent. But, it's two teams playing against each other, anything could happen.

“We need to stick to our philosophy and our beliefs and take the game to them. Hopefully we can achieve the seemingly impossible. We'll always believe in ourselves and we'll always be confident in our own ability.

“We're working under a great manager too. He has his philosophy and it's working. It was difficult last year for him, we went through a patch of really bad form, but we stuck to what we believe in and it's turned around, we're seeing the benefits.

"It's been a really good season. It was a difficult start personally; being out the team given the circumstances was tough. But I'm happy to be back and the club is flying this year. All I want to do is play football. It's nice to concentrate on that, and let the football do the talking.”

For some, a cup run can be viewed as a distraction, but Bristol City know all too well that's not necessarily the case. The 2014/15 season saw the Robins march to the Sky Bet League One title and achieve their aim of promotion, but they weren't done there.

A successful Wembley visit came with it too, where Flint and several other current squad members got their hands on the League Trophy. That was a truly memorable occasion, and a chance to replicate that moment is something that the 28-year-old is eager for.

“The momentum of a cup run can help. To get to the Semi-Finals of the Carabao Cup is a massive achievement and that belief in ourselves carries over to how we perform in the Championship. We've had a couple of poor results of late but we're back playing now.

“The Trophy win a couple of years ago comes into our thinking. That success certainly gave the squad a platform to kick on. The winning mentality was already with the squad, anyone who plays football has that within them.

“The Final was an unbelievable day. Playing at Wembley was a dream come true, never mind scoring, and winning. There's no better feeling. It's one of the highlights of my career to date – I'd love to repeat that now in the Carabao Cup.”

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