Swindon AdvertiserTown's Pritchard sad to say goodbye to his "best year in football" (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Town's Pritchard sad to say goodbye to his "best year in football"

Swindon Advertiser: Swindon Town star Alex Pritchard Swindon Town star Alex Pritchard

ALEX Pritchard has been double-checking exactly when he was born in an attempt to extend his time at Swindon Town, which he has dubbed his “best year in football”.

The Tottenham Hotspur loanee plays his final game for Town at Notts County this afternoon after 10 months in Wiltshire, during which time he’s established himself as a firm fans’ favourite, the second best player in the division according to the Football League awards and a nailed-on future star.

Ahead of his last appearance in the red of Swindon, Pritchard told the local media how much he feels he has developed under the tutelage of Mark Cooper and Luke Williams, how much he will miss the camaraderie and team spirit of the Robins’ dressing room and just how much he has come to enjoy life at the County Ground.

Under the terms of his youth loan from Spurs, Pritchard cannot play against Rotherham United on the final day of the season, his birthday, as he turns 21. He even called up his parents just to check, as he explained: “I actually rang up my dad and asked him what time I was born. He said it was eight o’clock in the evening, or something like that, but I haven’t really checked up on it. I’m just gutted it was my last home game and I’m looking forward to Notts County, getting a win there, hopefully Peterborough slip up and we go into the last game of the season needing a win to get in the play-offs.”

Pritchard can reflect on reaching the third round of the Capital One Cup and the area final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, and helping his team to what looks like being a seventh-place finish in League One during his first full season in the senior game.

When asked for his personal highlights, he said: “Big games against QPR, things like that, Smudge’s winner against Coventry, little things like that, the Bradford game, my goal against Bradford, the fans who have been great. It’s been my best year in football.

“Growing up a lot, getting fouled a lot, getting up and trying not to react, which I’ve done a few times this year, stopping backchatting to the referees.

“I’ve stopped that. I got a couple of bad tackles against Bradford at the weekend but didn’t react to it. I’ve enjoyed my time here and I’m sad to go.”

Given his size, and a difficult spell at Peterborough United at the end of last season, there were some doubts about Pritchard’s ability to step into the Football League. But he has made a nonsense of such notions with a series of tricky, dynamic performances.

He said: “I don’t think people thought I’d really live up to it, they didn’t think I’d be able to deal with it. I had to deal with it otherwise I wouldn’t be able to play this kind of football. Going from reserve league to League One is a massive difference.

“Football-wise you play against the likes of Chelsea in the reserves league, where both teams play football. Yes, there are some tackles, but it’s not strong. Then you come to League One and play against teams like Bradford, who just want to put it on the diag and things like that. It’s a battle in the middle of the park and you’ve just got to live up to it and get used to it.

“You’ve got to deal with it. It’s hard, coming from a reserve league to League One; it’s different but I’ve enjoyed it.

“I played in the Championship last year and it was hard, I found it very tough but when I came back I had to think about myself going to League One with the same sort of tempo and physical. I’m used to it now, I’m ready, I’ve just got to kick on and see what happens.

“I’ve always believed in myself and I believe in my own ability and what I can do on the ball. I know I can get better off the ball. My defensive side this year has totally changed, in possession and out of possession. I’ve never doubted myself and if anyone wants to doubt me they can doubt me.”

Leaving the Town dressing room will obviously be an emotional moment for Pritchard. There’s a tinge of sadness in his voice as we walk beside the County Ground pitch and he mentions something about “not playing here again”.

Speaking about getting ready to return to Spurs, he said: “I’ve already spoken to Nathan (Byrne) about it and I’m going to miss it but it’s just one of those things, you have to move on, don’t you.

“I’ve met a lot of new teammates and friends but obviously the Tottenham lads I’ve known for goodness knows how long so I’ll keep in touch with them, and most of the other lads as well.

“The fans have been brilliant, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I had a tough couple of games at the start and I think I’ve kicked on from there and started to play my football. The fans have been great for me and I appreciate it.”

Comments (8)

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6:59am Fri 25 Apr 14

Red Tuareg says...

Certainly one of the shining lights this season and will be a big loss. Maybe another town loanee that goes on to play at the highest level ? Wish him the best for the rest of his career shame it will not be with the town.
Certainly one of the shining lights this season and will be a big loss. Maybe another town loanee that goes on to play at the highest level ? Wish him the best for the rest of his career shame it will not be with the town. Red Tuareg
  • Score: 24

7:14am Fri 25 Apr 14

avo says...

Good luck in the future Alex, and all the best in wherever you end up.
Good luck in the future Alex, and all the best in wherever you end up. avo
  • Score: 16

7:36am Fri 25 Apr 14

Since 1950 says...

Good luck for your future Lad. I've enjoyed watching you develope through the season even though i have cursed you at times for those cards!
Good luck for your future Lad. I've enjoyed watching you develope through the season even though i have cursed you at times for those cards! Since 1950
  • Score: 12

9:53am Fri 25 Apr 14

LeGod says...

Good Luck Alex wherever you end up next and thanks for all the great moments you have given us and no doubt you will move on to bigger and better things. You will always get a great welcome back here wherever you end up playing i would expect its the Championship next season.
That great free kick at MK Dons for me was your best goal and well done for getting into the player of the season awards.
Good Luck
Good Luck Alex wherever you end up next and thanks for all the great moments you have given us and no doubt you will move on to bigger and better things. You will always get a great welcome back here wherever you end up playing i would expect its the Championship next season. That great free kick at MK Dons for me was your best goal and well done for getting into the player of the season awards. Good Luck LeGod
  • Score: 11

10:23am Fri 25 Apr 14

Psychedelic Syd says...

Sad to see him go, always enjoy seeing him play. Hope he achieves as highly as he can as he has a good attitude and is self motivated. All the very best for the future young man.
Sad to see him go, always enjoy seeing him play. Hope he achieves as highly as he can as he has a good attitude and is self motivated. All the very best for the future young man. Psychedelic Syd
  • Score: 11

1:55pm Fri 25 Apr 14

bluesharpbob says...

A good interview and he spoke well of the manager, his assistant and the fans. Which I think reflects the good work done on a bunch of very promising young players.

He's going back to a much bigger club, but he clearly appreciates what he's learnt here.

The manager has had a lot of undeserved criticism in my view, but has been a success finishing 7th.(possibly 6th)
A good interview and he spoke well of the manager, his assistant and the fans. Which I think reflects the good work done on a bunch of very promising young players. He's going back to a much bigger club, but he clearly appreciates what he's learnt here. The manager has had a lot of undeserved criticism in my view, but has been a success finishing 7th.(possibly 6th) bluesharpbob
  • Score: 8

6:29pm Fri 25 Apr 14

mancrobin says...

LeGod wrote:
Good Luck Alex wherever you end up next and thanks for all the great moments you have given us and no doubt you will move on to bigger and better things. You will always get a great welcome back here wherever you end up playing i would expect its the Championship next season.
That great free kick at MK Dons for me was your best goal and well done for getting into the player of the season awards.
Good Luck
Agree totally with that. Alex is definitely a game changer. Good luck to the lad. I will follow his career with interest.
[quote][p][bold]LeGod[/bold] wrote: Good Luck Alex wherever you end up next and thanks for all the great moments you have given us and no doubt you will move on to bigger and better things. You will always get a great welcome back here wherever you end up playing i would expect its the Championship next season. That great free kick at MK Dons for me was your best goal and well done for getting into the player of the season awards. Good Luck[/p][/quote]Agree totally with that. Alex is definitely a game changer. Good luck to the lad. I will follow his career with interest. mancrobin
  • Score: 2

10:41pm Fri 25 Apr 14

TheDukeOfBanbury says...

All the best Alex and thanks for the entertainment.
All the best Alex and thanks for the entertainment. TheDukeOfBanbury
  • Score: 0

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