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IT IS doubtful whether we have heard manager Ken McKenna's true feelings about the game with Manchester City.
He says in public that the task is 'impossible', but McKenna is a man who has always been a winner.
Ask fans of Unibond League Altrincham about the man who is undoubtedly plotting Manchester City's early UEFA Cup demise.
McKenna ranks as an Alty hero and legend after plundering 56 goals in a never-to-be-forgotten two-year spell with the Robins, which began when he joined them from their then Conference rivals Telford for a club record 25,000 in the summer of 1990.
And though the task he now faces in trying to lead his side to victory over City far outweighs all that he achieved with Altrincham, such is McKenna's reputation down at Moss Lane that there are some there prepared to believe he's capable of pulling off what would surely rank as one of the biggest shocks in the history of European football.
Among the fully paid-up members of Kenny's Alty fan club is none other than current Robins' chief Graham Heathcote, who was assistant to manager John King at the time they signed him.
He said: "Kenny was always a leader as a player and he mastered the art of knowing when to joke and when to be serious.
"He was desperate to win every game and that's a quality he has taken with him into management.
"I've no fears for him against City, even though TNS clearly have it all to do.
"Kenny has played his part in a number of big cup upsets. He knows what these games are all about, and I know he'll prepare thoroughly and send out a very well-organised side to face City."
Robins' diehard Brian Flynn, the voice of Alty's clubcall line, said: "Kenny was, and is, a tremendous character, and no-one here would ever have anything said against him."
McKenna, who has twice steered TNS to runners-up spot in the League of Wales, isn't the only person at Treflan with strong North West connections.
Assistant John Carroll is Ken's old Runcorn boss, who he played under in two FA Trophy finals, while the lynchpin of the TNS defence is another former Runcorn Linnet, Gary Brabin.
13 August 2021