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I don’t even think Pep Guardiola would be able to make too many changes in just two days of training: Rob Edwards on the appointment of Walsall boss Michael Flynn


Stroud Times sat down with Forest Green boss Rob Edwards and flying wing-back Nicky Cadden to preview the league leaders’ home clash with Walsall on Saturday.

In a Q&A, Ash Loveridge questioned Rob Edwards at the pre-Walsall press conference alongside Paul Furley and Laurie Martin.

You can listen to the unabridged press briefing with Edwards and Cadden in the audio broadcast at the bottom of this article.

AL: Your team seems to have a steely determination about them. Would you agree?

RE: The lads deserve a lot of credit because they’ve shown different ways of getting points, especially in the last couple of months. Different things have been thrown at us. Different formations, different ways of playing, the weather conditions – but the lads have been grinding it out and finding a way. It is a winter sport and in League Two where the stands are smaller and the grounds are more open, we can be impacted by the wind more. We’ve had to deal with a lot, but we’ve got great character in the group.

AL: You’re on a 19-game unbeaten run. How difficult is it to maintain focus?

RE: It’s not difficult at all. We just keep doing what we’re doing. It’s the next training session and the next game. I say this to you every week, but that’s honestly how it is. We’re in a groove, we have a way of working and the lads know how we work. We’re not going to change and we’ll continue to play to our strengths. We just have to continue what we’ve been doing all season.

AL: You’ve conceded the first goal in your last two games, but how pleased have you been with how your players have responded?

RE: Very pleased. We went behind against Port Vale as well, so that’s Port Vale, Rochdale and on the weekend against Sutton. We don’t want to concede the first goal, but we have and then we’ve shown character to get five points from those games. To get a couple of draws and a win is really pleasing – it shows very good character. Those draws were also away from home, and then at home we managed to turn it around against Rochdale and win. It gives the lads belief. You will concede goals throughout the season, but we’ve shown that we can come back from it. We can pick the ball out the net, put it on the spot, puff our chests out and go again.

AL: Walsall will be hoping to get a new manager bounce off Michael Flynn’s appointment. Why do you think the new manager bounce exists in football?

RE: It’s a clean slate. It gives people a fresh impetus and they want to impress the new manager and show what they’re about. If I could put my finger on it then I’d be able to give you a clearer answer, but I don’t really know. We see it happen a lot – so there must be something to it. It must be a psychological thing, because it’s the same players playing, but just a different voice. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen on the weekend.

AL: Do you expect Walsall to play in the style that we saw Michael Flynn implement at Newport?

RE: I think he only would have had two days working with the team. I don’t even think Pep Guardiola would be able to make too many changes in just two days of training. He has the same players to work with. As I said before, they’ve just beaten Tranmere, who are right up there, so it might be a case of going again, or he might want to put his own stamp on things straight away and change lots. We need to do our own work on their players and we know what they’ve done over the last few games. They’ve played a few different formations over the last few games, so we’ve got an idea.

AL: Do you feel that Walsall have underachieved this season like you said about Rochdale last week?

RE: I don’t know. I think every club wants to be at the top end of the league, but they’re not for whatever reason. They had a bad run recently and unfortunately, Matt (Taylor) paid the price for that, which is never nice to see. I wish him well because he’s a good guy. I said that about Rochdale because I really like the way they play.

AL: Talking of managerial casualties, Derek Adams was sacked by Bradford City this week. As a manager, that can’t be nice to see?

RE: It’s not nice to see. We all know that this is the world that we’re in and that’s the price you pay if you’re not getting results. Derek is another one who I wish well. He’s a very good manager and he’s been very successful, so I have no doubt he’ll be back soon.

AL: We spoke to Nicky Cadden earlier who seemed very driven and focused. Does that come from you or does that come from the individual?

RE: I think it’s everyone at the football club. We have a job to do and there are still lots of points to play for. We know that we’ve put ourselves in a very good position, but there’s a long way to go. We know it’ll go quickly now. There are two more games left in February and once you get through March, the number of games left will be single figures. We all know that there’s a job to do and we’re by no means finished. It’s about concentrating on the next game and on the next three points.

You can listen to the unabridged press briefing with Edwards and Cadden in the audio broadcast at the bottom of this article.

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