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Interviews

Pre Forest Green Rovers | Steve Cotterill

2 September 2022

Manager Steve Cotterill spoke to the press ahead of League One clash at Forest Green Rovers.

Town travel to The New Lawn Stadium tomorrow to take on Ian Burchnall's side.

Speaking ahead of the game, Cotterill discussed a busy transfer deadline day that saw him strengthen his squad with the loan additions of Rob Street, Christian Saydee and Carl Winchester.

The boss also talked about how pleased he was with the 12 Town youngsters who made their senior debuts for the club in the Papa John's Trophy clash with Wolves under-21s on Tuesday.

And Cotterill also gave an update on the fitness of Daniel Udoh, Aiden O'Brien and Elliott Bennett - with the boss confirming the hugely disappointing news that Udoh is likely to miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury.

ON DEADLINE DAY:

"It ends up being busy because there is a lot that needs to be done on the last day.

"There is quite a bit that goes into transfers. It's been a busy period all-round.

"I have to say this, the people who put these windows in – they can set the rules but they don’t have to abide by them.

"They are poor rules really. I understand at the top level we need the Premier League to fall in line with the French league, the Spanish league etc, etc. I get all of that.

"But to not have loans continue – and have these loan windows – all it does is put players, managers and chairman up and down the country under stress and duress that nobody needs to be under.

"I think there are lots of rules in football that have changed for the good of the game. But I don’t think that helps anybody.

"What happens is the richer clubs can stockpile and then everybody has to fight around for the rest and undercut people.

"There's so much ducking and diving that goes on and it’s poor really. It shouldn’t be like that and it doesn’t need to be like that.

"But going back to ourselves, we are happy with the business we ended up doing throughout the whole of the window.

"It's been difficult but we are happy with the business we have done."

ON STRIKERS ROB STREET AND CHRISTIAN SAYDEE:

"They are young, energetic, will work hard, they want to learn, they are competitive – you won’t get an easy game against them – and they just want to do well.

"They are fit, and they fit within our budget.

"I think in the early parts of their career they have gone and done the hard yards. They are going out on their second loans which is better.

"I always think first loans are very, very, hard for young players. To have to go away from home, they might be moving away from their parents for the first time.

"It’s very difficult for them but the two lads we have brought in are used to doing that now.

"Hopefully, in that period of time, they would have matured, learned a lot and hopefully, they will go on and score a few goals.

"They are two cracking young lads, they really, really, are. They are brilliant lads and we are looking forward to working with them."

ON CARL WINCHESTER:

"I have known Carl for a long time. We had a conversation last night when he was driving down.

"We didn’t find out until late that he was available but thankfully we did get to find out.

"There were a couple of midfield options that we were discussing but once Carl became available – 100 percent I wanted him. That was a real bonus for us.

"I am really pleased to have him. He is another great lad, honestly, he is a great lad. 

"Those three are coming into a really good dressing room but I know those three lads coming in – they are not going to rock the boat.

"They are great lads and we are really looking forward to working with them."

ON WINCHESTER'S EXPERIENCE:

"He is very experienced but he is only 29. He has got some good mileage left in him.

"He is great in and around the place. He has got great legs. It’s another area where we wanted to strengthen and it was getting more and more difficult as the window was going on.

"There are very few of those players. But he can play right-back, right wing-back.

"And contrary to some reports, there is no recall in the loan. There was going to be, but then we said we didn’t want that so thankfully Sunderland agreed to our request."

ON TOWN'S YOUNGSTERS THAT PLAYED IN THE PAPA JOHN'S TROPHY:

"They have been great which is why they got the opportunity. 

"Whether we will be as young against Stockport or Port Vale – I don’t know the answer to that.

"But that was a great opportunity because I knew Wolves would be playing lads that were only a little older.

"I was really, really, pleased with them. They will get so much out of that and also playing in front of the supporters as well. That is important for them as well.

"It may have been a low-key first-team game. But it was a big game for those lads because they are playing in the stadium and they are playing in front of a crowd.

"That comes with pressure but they get to understand what it is all about. We were delighted with them the other night.

"It was great to watch them because I’ve seen them develop so much over the past few years.

"And all the first-team boys were there and they were all in the dressing room afterward so it shows there is a real connection between the first-team and the academy which doesn’t happen at every club."

ON DANIEL UDOH:

"It’s not good news about Dan. It’s not good news.

"The scan has shown he has torn his cruciate ligament which was my biggest fear last weekend.

"As soon as I looked at him I thought he might be in trouble.

"He will probably miss the rest of the season which is a huge disappointment for Dan and for us.

"It needs to settle down because there is a bit of swelling in the knee and he’ll probably have an operation on September 10. That is when he is pencilled in. He’ll have that anterior cruciate reconstructed.

"I brought him into the office when we got the results - it was just me, him and the physio.

"He is fine now, but at the time he was very upset. I remember when I did mine, both of them, it’s a real gut-wrenching conversation that somebody has to have with you.

It’s a huge disappointment. But I said to him he will be looked after and once he gets the operation he has got some great thighs, he’s as strong as anything, he will back. We just can’t put a time scale on it."

ON AIDEN O’BRIEN AND ELLIOTT BENNETT:

"He (O'Brien) is doing well but he is still a couple of weeks away. He is back out on the grass, he is running but we have got to be so careful.

"We want to have everyone available, he is on the grass moving well. Elliott Bennett is on the grass doing even more.

"They will be close to a return, but it still is weeks as opposed to days."

ON FOREST GREEN ROVERS:

"It's another promoted side away from home, exactly the same as last week.

"When a team comes up it’s always difficult. We’re full of respect but we want to go there and try and win the game."

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