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SWINDON TOWN: Williams praises Storey and Branco
LUKE Williams has praised the patience and professionalism of Rafael Rossi Branco and Miles Storey after both grabbed their recent first-team chances with both hands.
Storey came off the bench to make his first Swindon appearance for three months against Coventry on December 21 and scored the winner in a 2-1 victory, while Branco impressed on league debut as a second-half substitute as Town battled to a hard-fought point at Bradford last time out.
Both have had to put up with plenty of time on the fringes of the Robins’ squad and assistant coach Williams paid tribute to their work ethic.
He said: “This is a message we’re trying to get across to the group on a daily basis - and I’m sure they think we’re saying these things just to keep them going and to keep them motivated but it’s true.
“They’re young and probably don’t realise that sometimes you think you’re the furthest away from the squad and you’re actually closer than you’ve ever been.
“You have to prepare each day that that opportunity might come and that’s what Miles has done. He’s trained well and he’s been a professional throughout and when his chance came you could see he was ready.
“Raffa has done exactly the same and now I think the players are starting to believe us that it’s a marathon, it’s a long season, many things happen and your opportunity will come.”
Branco could make his full Football League debut when Crawley visit Wiltshire on New Year’s Day, with Grant Hall struggling with an ankle injury, and Williams has backed the Brazilian to slot seamlessly into the heart of the Swindon defence.
“I’ve known Rafael for quite a long time, I offered him a contract at Brighton and I think what people saw from Raffa is that he’s brave, he’s a real man and I mean that in every sense,” he said.
“He went on and made his league debut at a hostile arena in this division. He’s happy to have the ball at his feet, he’s happy not to rush, he’ll drive forward into midfield and defensively you’ve got a problem if you’re a centre-forward because he’s going to try to tackle you at every given opportunity.
“Hopefully we’ve just introduced somebody into the squad that can play a part from here until the end of the season and can make his mark on the team.
“It’s very difficult to put a player in that’s not been tried and tested and I think he’s maybe answered a few critics. That’s the only thing that a player can do. It’s a massive risk, you risk not only possibly losing the game because a player’s not ready but you risk crushing a player if you put him in when they’re not ready.”
Swindon have had to contend with flooding at their Liddington training ground in the build-up to tomorrow’s game, but Williams stressed that their preparations have not been hampered too much.
“Most clubs, with the exception of those who have got an indoor dome, will be struggling but it’s manageable,” he said. “It’s difficult conditions but that’s English football.”
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