TOWN v CRAWLEY: Skipper reveals players' shock at Ritchie sale (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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TOWN v CRAWLEY: Skipper reveals players' shock at Ritchie sale
ALAN McCormack has admitted that the Swindon Town squad were taken aback by the transfer of Matt Ritchie to Bournemouth, but he stressed that there is enough quality in the Robins’ ranks to fill the void left by the departed winger.
Ritchie made the switch to Dean Court on Wednesday after Town accepted a £500,000 offer from the Cherries, with the 23-year-old leaving Wiltshire after 108 appearances and 24 goals following his permanent move from Portsmouth in January 2011.
He has been virtual ever-present for Swindon this season, and his assists and goals from out on the right have been invaluable in his former side’s push for promotion from League One, but McCormack insisted that he is not irreplaceable.
Furthermore, Swindon’s Irish skipper said manager Paolo Di Canio already has plenty of talent at his disposal out wide, in the shape of Raffa De Vita, Gary Roberts and Adam Rooney.
McCormack said: “I got a phone call off Jay McEveley to say (Ritchie) had gone and signed a three-and-a-half-year deal, subject to FA approval, which I couldn’t believe. We’ve gone from having Matty in our team to having him out of our team in the space of a few hours after seeing him (on Wednesday) morning for video clips.
“I don’t think he knew but reading into his interview yesterday it all came out of nowhere very, very quickly. It’s gone now, he’s move on to pastures new for him and we’ve still got a phenomenal squad here so we won’t miss him too much.
“He was pretty calm, pretty lively yesterday morning - he’s quite an enthusiastic character in training, loves football, eats it, sleeps it, drinks it and he was his usual coming into training.
“I think it was a surprise to him that everything had gone so quick and it had been accepted so quick so he went down there and did his business.
“Matt Ritchie is an incredible player. He’s been incredible for us and scored vital goals at vital times and his assists as well have been so key for us.
“He will be missed but in the squad we’ve got lads who are capable - Raffa, Adam Rooney - they can all play on the wings. They’ve all got quality. One player’s loss isn’t going to change how we play as a team. We still settle to play the way the manager wants us to play and that can’t change.
“We’ve got to still play, we’ve got to still move forward.”
Meanwhile, McCormack revealed that the Swindon squad did not realise how close the club was to administration until they were informed by Di Canio yesterday morning.
He said: “Only this morning the gaffer said to us how close we actually were to probably going in. Because it’s not going to happen now we’re not going to worry about it. We’re not going to say ‘we nearly went into administration’. We didn’t go into administration.
“It didn’t worry the players and we showed that on Tuesday night in very tough conditions. We should have won the game and we showed that our minds aren’t elsewhere.”