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Ben Garner's Pre-Bristol Rovers Press Conference In Full

Read the Gaffer's thoughts in full

2 October 2021

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Swindon Town Head Coach Ben Garner spoke to the local media ahead of our local derby clash against Bristol Rovers today.

The Reds take on the Gas in a mouthwatering clash at The Memorial Stadium later - 3pm KO - and you can now read the thoughts of Garner in full...

Garner On Team Selection...

"We've had a good week and everyone is fit and back in the fold.

"It has been a full week of training for Harry McKirdy, which is great, so we have a full squad to choose from.

"Anthony Grant has been much better this week and I think it took him a week last week to get back up to speed.

"Jordan Lyden is improving constantly and Harry McKirdy has trained very well this week and he was only out a couple of weeks so, fitness wise, no concerns with him.

"It was just offloading that groin for a little bit, that quad and just allowing him time to get back to training, so all positive news on that front.

"Jonny Williams is fine.

"He had to fulfil the concussion protocols and I won't go into it and bore you, but there is certain criteria each day in terms of how long you can train for and at what tempo and intensity and when you can come back into contact, but he's ticked all of those boxes.

"He trained a full contact session on Thursday and he'll do the same again today, so he's recovered fine and we've gone through the protocol as it should be done."

Garner On Bristol Rovers...

"They've been a little bit up and down, that probably would be what their assessment would be.

"They've got a big squad, they've got a talented squad and I'm sure they will be looking to improve on what they've done so far.

"For the size of the club and the budget in this league, I can imagine they are targeting promotion but our focus is on us - we're not too concerned with what is going on elsewhere.

"Our focus is here and we're looking forward to the game.

"We are concentrating on us and we're not looking out of these four walls. We're focussing in-house and on what we're doing.

"We analyse the opposition and we look at what they've been doing in terms of performances, but our focus is squarely on us and we've got no concerns about what other teams are doing and what they are trying to do this season.

"It is wasted energy for us - all of our energy and focus will be on what we can control.

"It is a derby game but it is the supporters that give it more spice and rightly so - it will be a great atmosphere tomorrow, we'll take a great away following again as we have done in every game but, as professionals, our focus needs to be on our process and our preparation and what we do.

"We can't prepare in any more detail and work any harder than what we do week in and week out, so there is no extra 10 percent to find.

"We're already working at the maximum, we're already putting everything in every single week for every single game because, if we didn't do that, that would be disrespectful to the club and to the supporters because we're not giving everything.

"We give everything every week and the fact that it is a derby game and there is a little bit of extra spice to it, that is added to by the supporters which is fantastic and hopefully that will give us an extra edge tomorrow."

Garner On Returning To Rovers...

"It didn't go as well as I would have liked and as well as anyone would have liked and there were different reasons for that, but I reflected on everything within my control and what could I learn from my perspective.

"Anything that was outside of my control I didn't waste any energy on it because you can't influence that and you can't change those things.

"For me, it made me a stronger person, it made me a better manager and I'm grateful for that experience.

"It was a big change to go from the style of play that was there and the way the team had been built, to wanting to get to the complete opposite of that.

"There is no right or wrong in football, that was the remit to change the style of play to a completely different way, to go younger, to lower the wages, to generate some transfer fees and we did a lot of those things.

"It takes time when you are doing that much of a change and like I said, I've reflected on everything I did there from my perspective and that is why so much credit is due to everyone at this football club.

"Since we've come in, we've become so competitive so quickly which has been underestimated a little bit because it is very, very difficult to do in a short space of time and there has been an enormous amount of work across the football club to make us competitive from day one in the league.

"It took some doing."

Garner On International Call-Ups...

"Jojo Wollacott had mentioned at the start of the season when I first spoke to him that one of his ambitions was to play for Ghana.

"It is testament to how well he's done this season to get that call-up, and also to the work here that has been done with him.

"It is fantastic for him and his family will be very proud as well.

"The game at Forest Green Rovers is a televised game so it can't be called off.

"No matter how many we have called up, the game has to go ahead and we don't have an option with that.

"We could have 12 going away on international duty, but we have no control over calling the game off and we have to play the fixture."

Garner On The Season So Far...

"We're a little disappointed not to have more points. Across our games I think we have warranted more points from the performances, so that is our only disappointment to be honest.

"We think we should have four or five more points than we have, that would be a better reflection of how we've played and how the stats have reflected the games as well.

"But, aside from that, we're really, really happy with how everything has gone, we feel we're in a good place and a lot of our focus this week has been making sure that performances like last Saturday result in three points and not one."


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