Where all hope had gone, all expectations thrown out the window we see a completely different Swindon Town side turn up at Highbury to take on Fleetwood Town and come away with a thoroughly deserved 2-0 away win.
I was thinking at the end of the game, where has this Swindon Town FC been all season. Why has it taken till March 2021 to see good progressive attacking football on display. Tuesday night sees a local derby where 20th takes on 19th as Swindon Town travel to the Memorial Stadium to take on Bristol Rovers brimming with confidence.
The 2-0 away win at Fleetwood was not what I imagined or expected on Saturday afternoon. John Sheridan dropped both Dion Conroy and Tom Broadbent out of the starting XI and deployed a 3-4-2-1. A back three consisted of one recognised centre back in Akin Odimayo, the other two Central defenders were converted in Anthony Grant and Ellis Iandolo. Scott Twine will get the credit for his two goals, but plaudits should go to each of the back three, especially Anthony Grant. The general was back to marshal the troops in its hour of need.
That was such an important win on Saturday, with all the pressure in the previous weeks and the will he wont he go saga in John Sheridan position as manager. That win showed that we are still fighting for survival in League one. We were bottom at kick off on Saturday and at full time with results going our way we rose to 19th in the league standings. Just two points separates Rochdale who are bottom of the league with 32 points and Swindon Town on 34 points in 19th.
One minor blow to come out from the game on Saturday was the injury to Jordan Lyden who picked up a hamstring injury and confirmed by assistant manager Tommy Wright to the local press that he is going for a scan on the injury.
Predicted XI for tomorrow 3-4-2-1
Camp, Odimayo, Grant, Iandolo, Caddis, Palmer, Payne, Thompson, Twine, Hope, Pitman
Bristol Rovers are in 20th position in the league one standings with 34 points 36 games, goals scored is separating the two clubs in the league standings. Both teams have the same goal difference in -22, but Swindon Town have scored more goals 43 to Bristol Rovers 36. Swindon Town also edge Bristol Rovers in the h2h this season as Brett Pitman goal in the reverse fixture in Nov 2020.
Joey Barton is the new Bristol Rovers manager after the departure of Paul Tisdale, tomorrow’s game will be Barton 9th game in charge of the Pirates. His record so far for Bristol Rovers is grim reading, played 8 won 2 drawn 1 lost 5. 7 points picked up from a possible 24 with a points per game of 0.88.
Bristol Rovers run of form in the last 6 games has been extremely poor and the poor run of form is coming at the wrong time in the club battle for survival in league one. Just one win in the last six games has seen Bristol Rovers yoyo from 23rd to 19th and back down to 20th in the league one standings. One win 4 defeats and 1 draw are a sorry sight for Bristol Rovers last 6 games. The sole win came in a 4-1 home win over Accrington Stanley. The sole draw was a 0-0 against AFC Wimbledon. The defeats have come against Burton Albion, Hull City, Charlton Athletic and at the weekend just gone, away at Plymouth Argyle.
The key players to look out for in this Bristol Rovers side:
Brandon Hanlan has been involved in 9 goals in 35 league appearances with 7 goals and two assists after his summer arrival from Gillingham. Hanlan started the season well with 3 goals in his first 7 league appearances, it was big boots to feel after Jonson Clarke-Harris departure to Peterborough. Hanlan has found it tough since, finding the net in three more games this season. A double against AFC Wimbledon and goals against Blackpool and Shrewsbury in 2021. The goal against Shrewsbury was the first in 11 games. Still Brandon Hanlan will be out to prove a point against a leaky Swindon Town side.
The second and final player to keep an eye on is the now club captain Luke Leahy. Leahy has been involved in 10 goals in 28 league appearance this season with 6 goals and 4 assists. Leahy can play as Left back or at Left midfield. The change of shape to a back three has got the best out of the now club captain. Luke Leahy has scored 4 goals in his last 10 appearances and 2 in his last 4, he will be a player looking to exploit Swindon weakness in defence. With the added responsibility of captaincy, this is a player brimming with confidence. This is a massive relegation 6 pointer for both clubs in the battle of survival in league one. Bristol Rovers are looking to stop the rot and climb out of the congested relegation battle. Well Swindon Town are looking for back-to-back away wins and looking for an unlikely double over a local rival.
By Scot Munroe