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Branco keen to profit from his friend's misfortune
RAFAEL Rossi Branco would rather have forced his way into the Swindon Town team on merit but he’s not about to throw away the chance to make his first start for the Robins if Grant Hall is unable to feature against Crawley Town tomorrow.
Centre-back Hall faces a race to be fit for the visit of the Red Devils after twisting his ankle at Bradford City on Sunday and Brazilian Branco is in line to fill in for the Tottenham loanee at the heart of the Town defence.
Branco impressed after coming off the bench to replace Hall at Bradford and, while he is upset to see his friend and teammate injured, he’s ready to prove he is a more than adequate replacement.
“It’s hard because I know Grant from Brighton. We played together in the reserves and he’s a good guy. I see him working hard every day,” he told the Advertiser.
“This is not how I’d like to play, with his injury, but in football things happen that you can’t understand so if he is not fit to play on Wednesday I am ready to take my chance again. If he is fit to play I’m going to wait for my chance again.”
Branco’s 35-minute cameo on Sunday was the 23-year-old’s Football League debut following his summer arrival in Wiltshire.
The former Whitehawk man had previously made just one other appearance for Town, in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy victory over Plymouth in October, and he was delighted to have finally got the chance to make a mark in the English game.
“I feel so happy. I’m just going to call my family and say I played well and did good because my family has helped me a lot. When I wanted to go back to Brazil they said ‘no, your chance is coming’,” he said.
“They helped me a lot and I’d like to say thanks to my family - to my mum, my dad, my brother, my friends in Brazil - they helped me keep going. The chance came (at Bradford).
“Training is different to a game. When you’re training you’re just thinking about playing, playing, playing but sometimes you have to wait.
“I think when you train you can learn. I’ve seen Wardy (Darren Ward) and Grant play so many games and every time I was watching what they were doing what they were doing right and what they were doing wrong so that when I came in to do the same work I’m ready.
“They have done very good work together, I’ve had to wait my chance.”
During Branco’s first six months at Swindon his major off-field project has been teaching Tijane Reis how to speak English, and the defender said Reis is now within a fortnight of a return to first-team action.
“Me and Tijane speak Portuguese so sometimes people laugh but Tijane is a good guy as well. Everyone is helping Tijane and helping me as well,” he said.
“Tijane has come back from injury again and he’s going to be fit in one or two weeks.”
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