Ben Tozer made a welcome return to the Exiles starting team on Saturday, making his first league start for the club in eight months during the 2-1 defeat to Morecambe.
The midfielder, who had made two substitute league appearances prior to starting at the Globe Arena, had been missing since January 9th with a knee injury.
He has also featured in the Carabao Cup tie against Leeds United and in the CheckaTrade Trophy group game against Forest Green Rovers, as he looks to regain the form shown at the start of last season.
Post-match, he spoke exclusively to iFollow Exiles about his return, the Morecambe game itself, and how he is battling to win a regular place in the County midfield.
On his return…
“Obviously on a personal level for that it has been good but the result just takes everything away from that if you know what I mean.
“I just think even if we’d have come away with a point and taken a draw it would have been a positive, but we haven’t, and as much as I’m happy to have got my first league start for a while and played 90 minutes, I’m gutted to be honest with you so it’s ruined the weekend in that respect.”
On the Morecambe game…
“I felt like we weren’t good enough to be honest with you.
“Lennie Lawrence told us before the game to not use the travelling and tiredness of three games in a week as an excuse – and you can’t use it as an excuse. Everyone plays three games in a week and it just wasn’t good enough today.
“As poor as we were first-half, we were still in the game. Then, second half we were still in the game for long periods and it’s taken a lucky deflection to go in.
“We’ve had one or two chances ourselves, but compared to what we’ve been used to, it wasn’t enough really.
“Sometimes, you get a reality check. We’ve been doing well and getting some confidence and sometimes teams up their games against you when you are 5th or 6th in the league but I don’t even think that was the case today. I just think we weren’t at it today as a team and it’s cost us unfortunately.”
On Kevin Ellison haunting County again…
“You show every opposition the respect they deserve and he’s still scoring goals at his age – fair play to him, credit for that.
“It’s not just one thing that leads up to goals unless someone puts it in the top corner from 45 yards and it’s just happened to fall to him today.
“Joe has made a good save in the build-up to the first-one, did everything right and parried it wide but he was there for the tap-in. That’s his know how and that’s how he gets goals.”
On bouncing back against Grimsby Town next weekend…
“Every-game is tough, you can’t think that you can come to say Morecambe and pick up three points just like that because what happened today will happen.
“If you get complacent then you’re not going to get anywhere. We just have to do what we’ve been doing, work hard, be honest as a team and I’m sure the results will pick back up.”
On missing Mark O’Brien and Joss Labadie…
‘They’ve been playing well when we’ve been winning games so you could say that they are a big miss.
“But it’s not an excuse – we’ve got a good enough squad to come in and do the job so you can’t make excuses for anything.
“If we would have had six or seven players out then we still have six or seven to come in so we should be ready to do the job in their absence.”
On trying to get a regular place in the County midfield…
“It makes you work harder and harder.
“It’s only healthy because as much as you don’t want to have complacent players in the team, if there’s no competition then subconsciously sometimes you get comfortable and think you’ll be playing next week even if you have a poor game.
“So if you have two or three players pushing you from behind then it can only be good and if you are not doing things right then somebody is going to step in and do what you should have done in the first place.”