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Swindon head coach Ben Garner will not try to disrupt Manchester City’s style

Forest Green Rovers v Swindon Town – Sky Bet League Two – The Fully Charged New Lawn
(Image credit: Bradley Collyer)

Swindon boss Ben Garner has no intentions of switching tactics to try to disrupt Premier League leaders Manchester City in the FA Cup third round on Friday night.

Garner, 41, began his coaching career in Crystal Palace’s youth set-up and then later joined the first team staff where he worked under the likes of Tony Pulis, Neil Warnock, and Alan Pardew.

Pulis rekindled their partnership at West Brom, where Garner eventually took on the role of assistant head coach.

Former West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis

Ben Garner was assistant head coach under West Brom manager Tony Pulis (Nick Potts/PA)

Garner feels he took plenty of positives from all of the managers he worked with, but will not look to deploy anyone’s trademark approach as he aims to give City something to think about.

“Personally I’m not a fan of long throw-ins. For me it is against what the game should be about,” he said.

“I’m a purist – I like to see the ball passed and attacked – slowing the game down and loading up the box for a long throw isn’t something that we will do.

“Different people like doing different things and that is not a criticism of how anyone else plays – there are so many different ways to play this beautiful game, and ways to try to win.

“I learned an enormous amount from Tony (Pulis), who defensively is as good a coach I have seen or worked with in terms of organisation, which will be important for us.

“Certainly we are going to have to be very good without the ball, disciplined and organised. Hopefully we can do that.”

Swindon remain very much in the promotion hunt from Sky Bet League Two, and sit fifth following last weekend’s 5-2 win over fellow contenders Northampton.

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Garner maintains the make-up of the team is very much about playing to their own strengths, rather than just stifling the opposition.

“I wouldn’t describe us as rough and ready if I’m honest,” he said.

“We compete and want to play with an intensity, but we are certainly not going to be kicking their players all over the pitch and trying to disrupt, that’s not the way we go about things.

“That’s not the way we play and we are not going to change for one game, regardless of who we are playing against.

“We want to compete, we are gonna have to work incredibly hard, have to be really disciplined and organised.

“We have to be brave and have real quality with the ball, so it is going to have to be a complete performance and that is our aim, our objective and we will give everything we can to achieve that.”

Whatever the result at the County Ground on Friday night, Garner feels the tie is very much a “free hit” for Swindon.

“We have got an opportunity to show what we can do as a group, how we can play and perform and my hope is that we do that to the best of our ability,” he said.

“If we pull off a miracle and get through to the fourth round great, if not then we have got to be better for this experience, take the positives and try and push for the remainder of the league campaign and try and get promoted.”

Garner was appointed as Swindon’s new head coach in July following Clem Morfuni’s protracted takeover.

Swindon manager Ben Garner

Garner was only appointed in the summer (Leila Coker/PA)

Having built the squad from an initial base of just six players, Garner feels the dream FA Cup tie against the Premier League champions is just reward.

“It has been an incredible journey so far with a lot of hard work from a lot of different people,” he said.

“We brought a lot of players in, added a lot of staff, really tried to improve the way that we play and train, all the aspects of the football performance.

“It has been a huge learning curve for me, but we have got great people here.

“This is a club with huge potential. I like to think we have just scratched the surface this season and there is a lot more to come.”

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