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FA CUP PRESS CONFERENCE: Swindon Town v Man City

Good afternoon and thank you for joining us for this special live press conference blog as we bring you all the updates from Swindon Town manager Ben Garner and defender Ellis Iandolo ahead of Friday's FA Cup clash against Premier League Champions Manchester City. Total Sport Swindon's Ryan Walker will be bringing you live updates from 2.50pm as we preview the huge cup clash.


That concludes today's press conference. We will have write-ups of all the most important quotes going out later today and tomorrow. Thank you so much for joining us.


Iandolo on Jack Payne loss:

"Jack will be a massive miss for us, especially as he has worn the Captains armband for the last few games and he is a big character in the dressing room as well as his quality on the pitch. He has scored goals for us in the league this year and over the last month or two, he has been a standout player for us. He brings loads of energy to the team but we have good strength in depth and whoever comes in I am sure we will be able to replace him."


Iandolo on Man City game:

"These are the games you want to be involved in as a player and it will be a great test for all of us and a great experience with a full County Ground. Playing against a team like this we have nothing to lose and we will play with freedom.

"There was that one or two week period over the summer where we didn't get paid and I felt more for the players who had houses and families to support."


Iandolo on Swindon's style v City:

"Against a team like City you don't want to be playing long and when we have the ball we have to try and go forward with quality. Over the last few seasons, Pep Guardiola has generally picked a strong team and we are prepared to play whoever he plays."


Iandolo on his struggles with COVID:

"I woke up on the Monday or Tuesday morning with general flu symptoms and then by day 2/3 I was throwing up, had body aches and couldn't eat or swallow anything and was then bedridden. Then it was back to flu symptoms and I didn't feel right for 11 days before I got back into training. It wasn't very nice.

"I didn't feel right until after the Stevenage game."


Iandolo on expected lack of possession:

"We have to be very good to be them and they have to have an off game. We will be limited of chances and have to make sure we try and take those chances in front of goal. We won't lack any motivation and will stay focused."


Iandolo on penalty practice:

"There hasn't been any penalty practice and we have a few good penalty takers in the team. I would be happy to take a penalty."


Iandolo on fans impact:

"The fans will be huge and they really get the place rocking. They are like a 13th man and will be massive for us."


Iandolo on the meaning of this game for him:

"Scott brought me in when he was 17, then left and is back here now and we have rekindled our relationship. It's nice to have someone battling your corner and I can't wait to carry on playing games for Swindon. The first year I was here we played QPR in the Carabao Cup but this is the biggest team we have ever drawn and it will be a really good experience.

"My Mum and my Dad follow me all over and they are hardcore Swindon fans now and they enjoy the away games more than the home games. They are so proud and my little brothers love the hooligan side of things."


Iandolo on this season:

"It has been a good season so far but I have struggled a lot with injuries since I got here and the medical team have been brilliant with me and also keeping the rest of the boys fit Hopefully that will continue."


Iandolo on training this week:

"It hasn't been any different to normal. The match will be on everyone's mind and it will be a bigger occasion with more fans here but we set up every game to win and I don't see why this will be any different."


Iandolo on Man City team selection:

"I think all of us want to play against the best but we aren't thinking too much about how they will set up and whether any of their bigger games will play."


Iandolo on playing Man City:

"We have worked lots on shape in training and we take every game as it comes. I haven't watched Man City since we drew them in the cup. You see teams in the FA Cup every year who go and beat giant teams and when we have the ball we have to play as we have done all season.

"We know it will be a completely different tempo to what we usually encounter and when we get the ball we have to be good with it and brave and not turning down forward passes. We just have to go through the game as we normally would."


Iandolo on watching Premier League teams:

"I watch Match Of The Day every Saturday and Premier League games when they are on as it is always a chance to learn."


Iandolo on recovery from COVID:

"I'm good now and I struggled quite badly with COVID being bed bound for 7 days and then coming back in for training just 2 days before the Stevenage game. After that I felt a lot better and was back to 100% for the Northampton game. We are all fit lads and with the training we do it is quite easy to get back up to full speed and we have lots of games at this time of year."


Ellis Iandolo has now joined us.


Ben Garner has now left us. Ellis Iandolo will join us shortly.


Garner on impact of Guardiola in lower leagues:

"He has had a huge huge impact. I had beliefs when I entered coaching and I felt there was too much emphasis on size and strength. Coming up through the academy at Crystal Palace I had my beliefs and way of playing and his Barcelona team had a lot of impact on academies with Xavi and Iniesta not dominating in physicality but going on to win everything. We play this way in League Two and I believe we can get promoted playing this way.

"Styles are very different across this league and you have teams who play very direct and other teams who try to play more football and there is a real mix. Every game has its challenges and that is an ongoing challenge and one we have learnt a lot from this season."


Garner on Friday night fixture:

"There are people who are ecstatic it is on a Friday night and a game under the lights is special but I understand the point about it being on a Friday and some people may not be able to get here. With it being on tv I hope everyone gets to watch and cheer us on."


Garner on Swindon's approach:

"I wouldn't describe us as rough and ready. We will look to compete but won't be kicking their players all over the pitch. We want to compete and have to be brave and have quality with the ball. It has to be the complete performance and that is our objective."


Garner on Swindon head-to-head record v Man City:

"If we win then it would be up there as one of the greatest FA Cup shocks. You look at the players and the value of their squad then it would be a massive shock. Thoughts of defeat aren't in our head, we want to go and win the game and it isn't impossible."


Garner on learning from Guardiola:

"I will without a doubt look to learn from Pep Guardiola on Friday night and I always look to learn something from the games I play in and even this week I have learned lots watching Man City. The important thing for me has been looking at Man City's overall shape, their systems, and what spaces they look to exploit against certain teams. That has been the case this week and we have no idea who will play but generally, over the years Pep has gone strong in the FA Cup and regardless we know they will be very strong.

"In my opinion every game is winnable. Obviously some so more than others but we have an opportunity to win this game. If not then we might as well no turn up. There are weaknesses and if we can get momentum in the game then you never know. We need a bit of lady luck but the harder you work the more luck you may get."


Garner on magic of FA Cup:

"It is a wonderful cup competition and we all have great memories of the FA Cup. This night will live in the memories of our supporters for many years to come and hopefully help build our future fan base."


Garner on match outcome:

"I don't think we have anything to lose and no one gives us a chance but within these walls of the club we have hope and it would be nice to play well and give a good account of ourselves regardless of the outcome.


Garner on players not being starstruck:

"Once they get into the game all of that will go out of the player's heads. We won't play with fear as fear doesn't allow you to play the way you want to."


Garner on training this week:

"I can't say that I have seen any difference in training to a normal week and every week training has been excellent with that intensity and focus. It has been a good weeks training."


Garner on injuries and team selection:

"Jack Payne is injured with a knee injury and that is disappointing and a shame for Jack because he has been a fantastic player so far. He won't feature. Jonny Williams hasn't trained as yet but we will see tomorrow although at the moment it is probably a no for him. These injuries give an opportunity to other players and we need every player.

"I still have one or two decisions to make tomorrow morning."


Garner on what this means for the club:

"How many opportunities does a League Two club get to play the Premier League champions? It is a wonderful occasion and the supporters here have endured a lot of challenges and it is a great reward for them. We just want everyone to enjoy the game and it will be a fantastic atmosphere."


Garner on goalkeeper selection:

"I don't think there is a worry of match sharpness as you seen when Lewis Ward came in against Forest Green he was outstanding that day. I have no fears whatsoever."


Garner on not getting carried away:

"Consistency is key and if we had prepared differently this week then that would be disrespectful to Mansfield on Tuesday and that for me is a bigger game. We prepare in the same way for every game and as long as we do that we give ourselves the best possible chance."


Garner on season development:

"For me, I can believe where we have come from to get to this stage. That has been a constant process and I am delighted for the supporters after the hard times they have gone through to now have this game. As long as we do what we do every week there will be no regrets and see if we can get some of the FA Cup magic."


Garner on players nerves:

"I haven't seen any nerves this week and it has been a normal week for us. We have to embrace this and I'm sure there will be butterflies for the players but it is a fantastic occasion and we go into his game to give it everything it has got."


Garner on Swindon's playing style v Man City:

"We are what we are as a group and we won't move away from our beliefs. We can't go away from that as we then wouldn't do very well trying to implement a new system. We are very realistic and know Man City are a team who have lots of possession but we have to find a way to be good with the ball and we have to be brave. We want to play our football and attack with purpose."


Garner on Guardiola:

"He has had a fantastic influence and I think he is the best coach in the world with his Barcelona team the best team I have ever seen in my lifetime and he has then been incredible here in the Premier League. I have huge respect for him and we look forward to taking on his team.

"I've not really thought about facing him too much, we work through a process and we have followed that as we always do. tactically it is very different for us in terms of the challenges we face."


Garner on Man City challenge:

"They have got wonderful strengths and are a fantastic team both with and without the ball. We prepare the same as always and come up with a plan on how we think we can the game. It's a game that we want to win and we are looking forward to it. You have got a clear message to get across to the players and we only give them the information we think they really need. There is nothing different for this game."


Garner on new signings:

"The new signings are able to play.

"The keeper brings us lots of potential and provides real competition in that department for us. Jake is a talented young centre-back who is comfortable on the ball and fits the way we play. He is very highly thought of at Crystal Palace."


Ben Garner has now joined us.


Friday's FA Cup clash is the first time Swindon have made it to the 3rd round of the FA Cup since the 11/12 season. Since then Pep Guardiola's Manchester City have lifted the trophy once.


Ben Garner will be joining us shortly as he prepares to face the local and national media in today's press conference.


We are in the Zoom call and will be speaking to both Ben Garner and defender Ellis Iandolo today with the gaffer up first.


Good afternoon and thank you so much for joining us for this very special FA Cup press conference as Ben Garner's Swindon Town welcome Manchester City to the County Ground in the 3rd round of the FA Cup.

Swindon Town FC

Swindon Town Football Club

STFC are Swindon's top football team, based at The County Ground Stadium.

The County Ground, County Road, Swindon, Wiltshire , SN1 2ED

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