After a disappointing display on Tuesday night, Swindon Town have a bottom of the table clash at Bristol Rovers where a win is needed for the away side to elevate them out of the relegation zone and to safety.
A lot has happened in the last few days, Tuesday night saw Swindon Town travel to Portsmouth and go down in a 2-0 defeat at Fratton Park. If you watched the game on, I follow with the away commentary you would have heard John Sheridan barrack is players for 90 plus minutes in a way that defeats the act of coaching. On the other side of the touchline, you hear Kenny Jackett giving out encourage words from the touchline and asking his players what needs to be done. Not John Sheridan who in the first half was on the Swindon players back from minute one. Poor Jack Payne and Rob Hunt bought the brunt of it in the opening 10-15 minutes. It got very harrowing as the game gone on. Jack Payne had an effort from distance go over the bar, you hear the encouragement from his players, but not from the touchline. Profanity followed from the mouth of John Sheridan and gave the player a volley of abuse for not hitting the target.
It got worse as the game went on, you can see the players were really affected by it. Dominic Thompson bit back after he went on a run and lost the ball. Sheridan replied by calling him a f****** D***. Not good coaching a side who is 2-0 down from away from home and in a relegation battle. The players looked disheartened at the end of the game, like us fans it looks like they have lost confidence in the manager.
It broke yesterday that Bournemouth had re called Mark Travers from his loan spell at Swindon Town after an injury to Asmir Begovic. That is the fifth loan player at Swindon to be recalled by the parent club in John Sheridan reign at the club, coincidence. Swindon Town dipped into the emergency loan market and brought in Joe Wollacott on an emergency 7-day loan from Bristol City.
It was also revealed today that three players who would have started in tomorrow West-Country derby have been dropped due to being late for a team meeting. The three players were not named and arrived late for a video analysis meeting which started on 10.10am on Friday morning.
The worrying stat to come out of Swindon Town is that we have not had a shot on target in the last 233 minutes of football. Last shot on target was Jordan Lyden blocked effort on the goal line against Wigan in the 37th minute. The XG stats I dare not to look at over the last few games would be a worrying look.
Predicted XI for tomorrow game 4-2-3-1
Wollacott, Caddis, Conroy, Odimayo, Thompson, Missilou, Palmer, Garrick, Twine, Hope, Pitman
Bristol Rovers are hovering just above the dotted line on goal difference, 24 points from 26 games and in the middle of 10 game winless run in all competitions. That cost manager Paul Tisdale his job midweek, Bristol Rovers lost 2-0 at home to Oxford United and just 18 hours later Tisdale was relieved of his job. The same day that Keith Curle was relieved of his job at Northampton, Curle is reportedly interested in the vacancy at the memorial stadium.
The year of 2021 started well for Bristol Rovers with a 2-1 win over Blackpool FC, this was on the back of 4 wins out of 5 in the month of December. That win over Blackpool on the 2nd January was Bristol Rovers last win in all competitions. 6 defeats in 8 in the league and 8 defeats in 10 in all competitions. That included a 6-1 away defeat at Accrington Stanley where Dion Charles grabbed the match ball with a hat-trick, his strike partner Colby Bishop grabbed a brace. The 2-0 home defeat in midweek to Oxford United was the final straw for Bristol Rovers board and Paul Tisdale was relieved of his duties after 83 days in charge and in the run of a 10-game winless streak.
Director of Football Tommy Widdrington has taken over on a temporary basis, favoured in the local press to take the vacant Bristol Rovers job is Widdrington at 4/7. Lee Mansell who is the development squad manager at Bristol Rovers is at 6/1 where Joey Barton is 8/1 and Ian Holloway is at 12/1.
The three key players to watch out for in the Bristol Rovers side, Striker Brandon Hanlan. Hanlan has been involved in 7 goals in the 26 league appearances this season. 6 goals and 1 assist. His last goal for Bristol Rovers was in their last league win against Blackpool back in the first weekend of January. Hanlan started the season well with 3 goals in the opening 7 league games of the season. but has found it tough in the last 10 games where Bristol Rovers have struggled on the pitch. The second player to keep an eye on is attacker Sam Nicholson. Nicholson has been involved in 7 goals from 21 league appearances. five goals and two assists this season for Nicholson who can play anywhere in the front three and can play in the no10 role. he has 4 goals and 2 assists in 8 games while playing in the centre forward role. The third and final player to keep an eye on for Bristol Rovers is 21-year-old striker James Daly, Daly has impressed with 4 goals and 1 assist in his 14 appearances in the league. Daly started the season well with 4 league goals in his opening 9 games. But has only featured in 5 games ever since.
This is a massive West-Country derby for both parties, Bristol Rovers are in a horrible run of form and are getting dragged into the relegation zone. Swindon Town need points and need them quickly, something must change. A win is needed to escape the bottom 4, Swindon won the return match in November and the same result this Saturday would be perfect.
Preview by Scot Munroe