In a week that has seen the former Town midfielder unveiled as the new gaffer at SN1, Ling also reflected on the importance of a good run in the FA Cup.
“It’s been two and a half years since I stood on that touchline,” he told swindontownfc.co.uk. “That’s a nice feeling to have that back that I’m going to be part of a team on a Saturday. Not getting up and thinking ‘which game am I going to scout today?’ but actually going to do your own team so that buzz will be back.
“It’s been a hectic week but it was nice to spend today (Thursday) on the training ground then travel up and train up there tomorrow (Friday). I’m really looking forward to the game - I watched Rochdale last Saturday so know what they’ve got, their strengths and weaknesses. I watched Luke (Williams) put on some shape (sessions) to our team and how we’re looking to play on Saturday. The lads looked really sharp and bright.
“There are some good players at this football club. It’s pleasing, as a manger, to look at your players getting to know who’s who, what jobs they do and some of the personalities and characters - that’s always important as well, to get to know the boys. What I saw was pleasing; everybody was out there giving it 100% and there was a real tempo and a purpose to training which is what I like to see whenever I’m on the training pitch.
“The cup is important. If you get a nice cup run it can help with your league position as well. We got to the 5th round (against Aston Villa in 1992) when I played here - it’s the furthest I ever got in the competition. It’s a money-spinner, we all know what it’s about for lower league clubs. Rochdale against Swindon won’t make any headlines on Saturday but you’ve got to start looking towards the third round and the potential glamour ties that can come your way if you can get through the first two rounds.”
Having watched the Dale last weekend, the Town boss turned his attention to Saturday’s first round tie at Spotland.
“Keith Hill has got a good side there. They play with a good tempo and good purpose and look to pass it all over the pitch. He does well with the budget he’s got up there and they play their football in a certain way which is not dissimilar to ours.
On the situation with players available to him at the weekend, he added: “It’s just Nathan Thompson who’s injured. Everyone else apart from the two Liverpool boys (Jordan Williams and Kevin Stewart) is back available. On the loan front, Ben Gladwin is the only loanee who hasn’t got permission to play.”
As he prepares to lead his troops into battle for the first time, Ling revealed that he was looking forward to finally getting underway after a hectic week.
“I’m looking forward to going up on the coach and getting in-and-around the players for a couple of days. That’s the part of the job we all love doing - the bits this week being announced as manager and the press and the rigmarole that goes with that side of it is something we have to do but it’s nice to concentrate on something we’re all good at and that is the football.”