Swindon Town make the long journey to Bradford City tomorrow evening in EFL Sky Bet League Two looking to add another win to their growing tally.
Scott Lindsey’s side moved up to fifth in the standing’s at the weekend with their home victory over Hartlepool United, but another stern test awaits them tomorrow night.
Here’s the lowdown on what our First-Team Head Coach had to say ahead of the clash during his pre-match press conference earlier today.
“It’s pretty much a case of ‘as you were’ on the injury front for us, with just Rushian (Hepburn-Murphy), Angus (MacDonald) and Reece (Devine) on the injury list at present.
“We have a few sore legs and picked up a couple of bumps and bruises in Saturday’s game, but we’re all good to go.”
Do you feel playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, with two long trips on the way calls for squad rotation?
“It certainly requires freshness as it’s a really long trip to Bradford, one of which we will be doing in one day.
“Like I said previously, we have a few players carrying some bruises and scrapes, and although they’ll be ready for Tuesday night, it’s important we assess them and make any necessary team selection changes based on that.
“Playing three times in such as short time can certainly take it’s toll, but we have good strength in depth within the squad, which means we can swap quality for quality if necessary.”
You’ve got some nice selection dilemmas at present with the majority of the squad fit and available, but that leaves a fair few pushing for a start I guess?
“We have a really strong squad, and I feel we can make three or four changes and it doesn’t weaken us.
“As a manager this is what you want. Selection headaches can only be a good thing. It’s tough but it comes with the job of being a football manager.
“We’ll always make decisions on the starting eleven based on fitness and form, and will of course be taking the long journey into consideration too.”
Have you seen more players pushing for first-team contention now the season is in full swing compared to the beginning?
“Yes definitely. In training we see real competition in the group and they have a real desire.
“Of course we have a few players who aren’t featuring as much as they’d like at the moment but they are hungry to fight for their place, and as I’ve mentioned, we’ll need to call on them this season with the number of games we have.
“As a First-Team coach you have to manage these situations and those not getting regular minutes at the moment will get their chances, and it’s down to me to communicate this.
“We’re a tight unit and everyone is on board with what we are trying to achieve. At the end of the day we all want to do well so we must stick together.”
Having played two sides struggling in the league, is this a chance to play a more expansive game and take on a side in a similar situation to you and at a similar level?
“The type of game doesn’t make a difference to me to be honest.
“Whether we play a side that looks to defend against us and is down at the bottom or if we are playing top of the league, our approach and game plan doesn’t change.
“We need to ensure we are playing at the top of our game every week and the players continue to develop and take on board how we want to play.
“Many may say a more open game suits us, but only if we are in control.
“We’ve played against sides who are direct and physical and come in for some negativity which I think was unjust.
“We played Sutton who were probably the most direct and physical side we’ve played and we beat them.
“Grimsby were very aggressive and we ended the game with three or four players defending for their lives, but we came away with a victory.
“We’ve also played against good footballing sides and claimed points, so it doesn’t matter. We will come up against every side twice and we’ll need to be ready.”
Will the Bradford game be a good experience for some of your younger players performing in a big stadium in front of a large crowd?
“It’s not really something I’ve really thought about to be honest.
“My players come out in-front of nearly 10,000 most weeks at The County Ground, but I know they’ll approach the game professionally, and once that whistle goes you get into the zone and tend to forget about crowds.
“If we stick to our game plan it won’t matter if we have 10,000 or 110,000 watching us, but we need to stay focused and give everything we can to win a difficult game.”
Do you see playing sides in and around you more significant than those at the bottom end?
“This may sound like a really boring answer, but every game in this division is a difficult one.
“You saw us on Saturday play a side that have been struggling and are bottom of the table, but they gave us a really tough game.
They have a real physical presence up top and other players that did well, so every game is a test and Bradford will be no different.
“This a division where everyone can beat everyone. Obviously there will be sides currently in tenth and twelfth who will probably end the season there, but they’ll beat sides at the top and lose to some at the bottom.
“We’ll always see some surprise results in this league, but we just focus on ourselves. We’re in a good position at present and will look to keep building on the progress we have made so far.”