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Fleming: 'It's great to be back'

30 January 2022

Defender Brandon Fleming is delighted to be back playing after starting his first league game of the season in the 2-0 win against Swansea City.

The 22-year-old defender made his first appearance since August when he came on as a substitute last weekend against Bournemouth, and was given the opportunity to start against the Swans by new head coach Shota Arveladze.  

“It’s great to be back,” said Fleming.  

“It’s a great feeling after a tough first half of the season with injuries and having Covid in pre-season. It’s been quite a struggle for me and mentally frustrating at times.  

“Since I’ve been back in training, I’ve felt sharp and ready to put in a performance. I feel like I did that (against Swansea). You can’t ask for much more than three points and a clean sheet. It’s a great win - all of the lads put such a shift in.

“With Randell (Williams) getting injured last week (against Bournemouth), I knew that there was a big chance for me to play this week. All you can do is wait for your opportunity and take it when it comes.  

“I’ve been wanting to play games for a long time. I’m so happy to be back out there in front of the fans.” 

Over 13,000 supporters were in attendance at the MKM Stadium to witness the defender’s return to the starting line-up, including both of his parents. He wasted no time in making an impact, setting up the opening goal for Tom Eaves with a sublime low cross after just five minutes.  

“We did crossing and finishing (in training) and Eavesy was in the box and I was crossing it to him,” explained Fleming.  

“He was going to the front stick and we were speaking before the game and he told me to put crosses into the front stick. It was literally like clockwork. We couldn’t believe it at half-time.”  

Russell Martin’s Swansea had 66% of the ball at the MKM Stadium, but Fleming was delighted with how the team prevented their opponents from creating many opportunities, despite their superior possession.  

“They had a lot of the ball which we knew was going to happen as they’re a possession-based side,” added Fleming. 

“Our shape was unbelievable as they couldn’t break us down. They got in down the sides a couple of times but we defended well in the box.  

“I think the three midfielders (Richie Smallwood, Greg Docherty and George Honeyman) are massive for us. They put in such a shift and the running they do sometimes goes unnoticed. They honestly keep this team together.” 

Having been announced as the club’s new head coach on Thursday, Fleming says that Arveladze has wasted no time in getting his ideas across to the players.  

“He’s been very good,” said Fleming. 

“He talks about what he wants us to do and is very precise in where he wants players and stuff like that. I can see us all learning a lot from him. Hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come in future weeks. 

“I’ve seen the highlight reels of his goals from when he was a player. There are some alright goals to be fair so if that’s anything to go off then I think we should be scoring a few goals!” 

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