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Fixture News

Ben Garner's Pre-Rochdale Press Conference in full

Gaffer's pre-game thoughts

1 April 2022

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Swindon Town Head Coach Ben Garner sat down with the local media earlier day to preview his team's return to action.

The Reds are back in EFL Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday when they take on Rochdale at the Crown Oil Arena - 3pm Kick-Off.

Here's the best of what Garner had to say pre-game...

GARNER ON INJURIES...

"We’ve got two coming back in Louie Barry and Joe Tomlinson, both have trained all week so they’re up to speed, they’re available for selection which is great.

"Big difference (having both players back in the team). I think they were forming a really nice partnership on the left side of the pitch before the injuries and they give us different attributes.

"Louie is a wonderful talent, can turn a game in an instant, wonderful finisher and we need that threat in our team and I think what Joe has given us since coming in is a different dynamic and an attacking threat from a wing-back or a full-back position.

"It also gives us the opportunity for set-piece delivery on either side of the pitch through him, and both great attitudes as well. They’ve loved their time here so far and, hopefully, that shows on the pitch when they play.

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"Harry McKirdy is not available for tomorrow, he picked up a calf injury so won’t be available for tomorrow and we’ve got a player ill who won’t be available for tomorrow either.

"His injury will keep him out for tomorrow, he’s responding well to treatment and we’ll do everything we can to have him back as soon as possible.

"Obviously, he’s done fantastically well this season and he’s a player we want available and on the pitch. He’s responded really well, treatment is going well and we hope to have him back as soon as we possibly can."

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GARNER ON ROCHDALE...

"I think Rochdale are a really good team

"I think when I watch them play, when I look at the data aside from the league table, they should be higher in the league than they are and that can be a mixture of things.

"That can be bad fortune, they could be unlucky in certain games, and they could not be taking their chances. But the way they play, they’re well organised, they’re well-coached, and I think they've got some talented players within their squad.

"I think they could certainly be higher up the table, how they’ve played. We know it's going to be a tough game there, they had a good result midweek to get a win and I know they’ve had a little bit of a tough run recently but we’ll be going there with respect and understand what a good outfit they are.

"But like I say, if we can take the training and how we have been this week into the game then I will be very pleased.

"It’s been nice this week seeing the lads come back into training. We’ve also had Ben Gladwin reintegrate into some of the training this week, which is great, and it just gives it a different complexion straight away.

"The players are really positive, and like you say, we’ve got eight games to go. We’re not looking beyond Rochdale at the moment, let's focus on that, let's perform, hopefully that will get us the win and then it's seven to go and we have to just keep with that process and keep taking it game by game."

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GARNER ON JOJO WOLLACOTT GOING TO THE 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP

"Brilliant for Jojo, wonderful achievement for a goalkeeper playing in League Two to be representing his country and now going to a World Cup is incredible, to be honest.

"Everyone here is absolutely delighted for him, it’ll be a wonderful experience to go and play in the World Cup.

"Hopefully, he can keep that shirt with Ghana and go and play in the World Cup. 

"Any experience like that for any player can improve you. He’s a very level-headed guy, really driven and motivated and that experience will just make him better. Wonderful experience, but also an intimidating one, especially in the second leg, so going through that as a player is something that will help him in terms of his future career and his upcoming games for sure.

"I spoke to him briefly and he loved it, in terms of qualifying, the experience. Spoke to him about some of the other aspects of the game and what went on, but as I say, he’s a really level-headed guy, takes it all in his stride.

"He came back in yesterday for a quick check-up, he only arrived yesterday morning and he'll be back in training with the group and we’ll have a proper catch-up today.

"He seems to be fine, we’ll see how he is this morning, but I don’t expect any issues with him so we’ll just double-check this morning, make sure he’s all okay and then team selection can go forward from there."

GARNER ON THE TWO-WEEK BREAK...

"Hopefully a positive impact I would like to think (when asked about what impact having a break would have on the team).

"We had two good weeks of just training with a few days rest in between the two blocks that we’ve worked. We’ve had a full week this week. We did three days last week and then gave them a three/four-day break.

"So we’ve worked them hard and they’ve been fantastic especially this week, really bright. Sometimes having that break there’s a freshness and there’s a bounce about the players when they come back in and that’s certainly been the case this week, so if we can play like we’ve trained this week I’ll be very happy."


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