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Tinnion pre-match on Radio Bristol

Boston Red

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RB. Opening day of the season. Does that bring back memories for you as a player? There's nothing like it, the excitement, the thrills, the uncertainty, the expectation.

BT. Very much so. The pre-season was always really tough, and you knew what was coming, but you always had one eye on the first game of the season. Pre-season really is about getting players fit. and getting everyone available to be selected. We are a few short today, but overall they are fit and ready to go.

RB. Do you have a favourite opening day memory over the years? I remember Tony Thorpe's hat-trick at Northampton. You were part of that team. Do you have a favourite? 

BT. Not really. There are so many. I can't remember them all, to be honest. It was always a game where the fans had expectations, everybody is looking forward to a new season, and I think with a full house at Ashton Gate today there is a lot of expectation. We have signed some good players, and we are building a squad that can be competitive,

RB. With sell-out season tickets, hopes are really high at Ashton Gate amongst the fan base.

BT. We are recruiting into a style of play now where we know what we want, we know the sort of players we want, we have got some real competition. If we had Alex and Kal Naismith and Ross McCrorie today, plus Rob Atkinson coming back, if we had those four involved the bench would be unbelievably strong, and that's what we want. We want two players fighting for every position, and if one's not doing it we know the other one can come on and play well.

RB. Has the summer in terms of Alex Scott gone as you expected it to? An awful lot of national and local interest in Alex Scott. Are you surprised, pleasantly surprised, that he is still at Ashton Gate?

BT. I'm not surprised at all the speculation. I'm not surprised Premier League clubs want him. But there has been a figure put on his head by the owner, and until somebody hits that figure then he will be here, and we are happy he is here.

RB. And in a way City are in a no-lose situation. If you get 25 million pounds plus great, but if you don't then you have got an EFL gem at the club this season.

BT. Yeah, 100%. And we are really comfortable with that. If he is here, brilliant. If we get 25 million plus, then it is pretty good too. It gives us a real platform to build if we get that money in, but ultimately while he is here our team is stronger. 

RB. And fact from fiction, we read every day of a bid. Where are we at in terms of interest in Alex Scott at the moment?

BT. It has been well documented about the clubs who have been in contact about Alex, but they have not got to the valuation of the football club, and until they do it's all just talk and speculation. He has trained unbelievably well this summer. He has come back and he has gone again, to be honest. He is a better player again. So if he is here for us, fantastic.

RB. You were sat here with Geoff for the Manchester City game and you talked about summer recruitment. Has it gone exactly as you expected, right to plan?

BT. Yeah, it did. We had four players earmarked to come in, and we had one to go out which was Kane Wilson, because he did not fit in with the way we played now, without the wing-backs. Kane was a specialist wing back so he did not fit that.  The four players in were a centre half, a right back who can play centre-half very well, a really attacking midfield player, and a left back to cover Cam Pring. So really pleased, and really pleased with all four of them, how they have settled in and worked so far.

RB. Someone with an interest in younger players like yourself, Haydon Roberts, I have heard so many good things to the point where maybe he was brought in as a young up and coming player at the start of the window, and I would not have been surprised if he had started today. 

BT. He has impressed everyone since he came walking through the door. He has got a real hunger. He said he wants to get back to the Premier League. He was with Brighton but they did not take up his option. That gave us a real opportunity to get him to the football club. We had a good chat with him. Myself and Nige told him the plan and where he fitted in. He has to get Cam Pring out of the team. And he is really determined to do that. And as you said it was probably a little bit of touch and go for this game who was going to start. 

RB. Nigel described Rob Dickie as almost a bonus, a surprise signing. Just tell me how that transfer happened. 

BT. He has been one that we like for about the last four years, since he was at Oxford. Mark Sykes was sat in the restaurant and said "I have been speaking to Rob Dickie. He is available." And then as soon as we knew that he wanted to come here, within two days we contacted QPR, and it started moving very quickly. It was pretty easy because he was desperate to come here. He is a better player than I thought he was, for sure.

RB. As a footballer?

BT.  He is massive from the back, outstanding. He gives us a new dimension. He is 6 foot 4 or 5, so he is dominant in the air, but his passing has been unbelievably good in pre-season. He is talking, he is a communicator, he has played alongside young Raph and Jamie Knight-Lebel through pre-season. He is talking them through the games. Really good communicator. He has been brilliant. 

RB. I haven't seen Jason Knight in the flesh, but a lot of people are comparing him to Josh Brownhill. Do you understand the comparison?

BT. Yeah, 100%. He is really athletic, he likes to get forward, he lets to get around people, he is always on the front foot, he will drive forward with the ball. He needs to get more goals and assists, which we spoke about when we were talking to him about coming. So I think he will be a really exciting signing for us. I think the fans will love him.

RB. And you don't ever typecast a player in a position, but Ross McCrorie when fit, is he a right-back predominantly?

BT. He will fight, and if there is a position at centre-half he has played there in the Scottish Premier League so he is comfortable there. He is dominant in the air, he wins headers, and defends set-pieces well, so he can play in the central midfield as well.  He will be a really good player, Ross. It is unfortunate he has picked up a little niggle but he is desperate to get out here and start. He is a powerful boy and he will run, and he will run all day for us. 

RB. Nigel referenced maybe one more new face. Are we talking defender, goalkeeper, or do we have to wait and see.?

BT. I didn't know that, so that's news to me. (both laugh). We are really happy with the squad. Kal Naismith trained fully yesterday so should be involved next week. Scotty will be back next week so I think we are all right. If everyone is fit I think the squad is really competitive. We have two players in each position really fighting for that position.

RB. And is it unfair to say that maybe that competition does not exist in goal? I mean, Harvey Wiles-Richards, how much potential does he have and is he ready to step up to the plate if needed?

BT. Well he'll have to. If Max gets injured or he's not available, then Harvey's there. We are banking on Max to be our number one, and I think he's earned that right. I think he has worked ever so hard. He has had loans. He has had to fight and prove his worth. I think he has come on a lot in the last six to eight months. 

RB. And thanks to Alex Scott, it takes a bit of the spotlight off Sam Bell and Tommy Conway. What are your hopes for them this season?

BT. Oh massive. I think they will both kick on again. They have both come back well in pre-season. They are both fitter. They are both stronger physically. I think you will see the difference in Tommy and Belly. They have done the work in the gym. They could be anything this season. It wouldn't surprise you if they both got a load of goals. 

RB. A few fans have been asking me about Raphael Araoye. You are probably a better judge than me, what kind of a prospect do you have on your hands in him?

BT. Well, he's 6 foot 3, left-footed, centre-half. He is young, and Jamie Knight-Lebel is the same age, They are just 18/19 years of age. It is probably a little bit earlier than we would have expected, with Kal and Ross not being available, but they are the future of the football club. In two or three years time - I said it with Belly two years ago and Tommy - they could be a centre-half partnership here. 

RB. You have been in the role since November. How much are you enjoying your role at Bristol City?

BT. Yeah, it's been fantastic! I think everybody has really pulled together as a football club now. There is a clear identity, there is a clear progression from the academy into the first team. Everybody is working extremely hard together, so yeah, I have loved every minute, and I think the football club is in a good place. 

RB. And bearing in mind twelve months ago Nigel said his expectation or ambition was the play-offs, is that the ambition again this year?

BT. I think he is more realistic, and I think he thinks it's more realistic this season. I think obviously he had to show last summer that we want to do that because that is what we want to do, but I think deep down in Nige's mind he is happy with the squad and he thinks this squad can improve again this season. 

RB. And finally a word on Chris Garland. City really do honour their former players and sadly he passed away, and the club will be honouring him today.

BT. Yeah, very much. Well deserved. Fantastic servant for the football club, and the reception he gets today will be thoroughly deserved. 

RB. Have a great season, Brian. Thank you very much for coming up to talk to us, and we will catch you soon, hopefully.

BT. Thank you. Thank you.




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