Many times in the past I’ve used the term ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ to describe a Town performance, and after casting my mind back I couldn’t think of a more Jekyll & Hyde Swindon Town performance than what we witnessed at the County Ground last Saturday.
The side we’ve all come to enjoy watching since Richie Wellens had a chance to implement his style was on full display inside the first half. It looked like a team pushing for promotion against a side hanging on for dear life in League Two.
But in the second half the two sides switched roles, as Town lost all their ability to shut down their opponents and ended up conceding a 91st minute equaliser, a goal which will come back to haunt us in early May.
Despite Wellens’ side having five games to try and reach the promised land of the playoffs that single moment last Saturday felt like a key moment in our season.
I hope I’m wrong and it won’t turn out to be significant, but that can only be the case if Town learn their lesson, starting this Saturday as they travel up to Boundary Park to face the side immediately below them in the table, Oldham Athetic.
With just 450 minutes of football left of the regular season and Town being five games unbeaten you may think it unwise to switch around a team in form, but after missing the chance to take all the points in Newport on Tuesday night the first eleven needs to be freshen up, especially in the midfield.
Canice Carroll has done a decent job since his arrival from Brentford on loan, but his performance levels have dropped, he needs a spell out the first team, and should be replaced by Jak McCourt, who under Richie Wellens has looked a much-improved player.
It’s also imperative the manager reintroduces Michael Doughty back into the starting eleven, the clubs player of the season elect has far too much quality to be left out as we get to the crunch point of the season.
One player I would’ve also put in that category a few months ago is goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux, and it seems he’s again caused trouble for himself as the manager clearly laid out why he’s been missing from the matchday squad in recent games.
Below are two quotes from his post-match interview after last night’s game talking about Vigouroux’s omission.
“I will not let anybody train, not properly, and then allow them to be in the matchday squad, if it means dropping five players with experience and quality I’m killing myself, Laurence Vigouroux is one of the best goalkeepers in the league, so if Luke McCormick goes down I have to put in a young kid who is untried, untested on the bench”
“We had a chat, and I’m hoping for the 5-6 weeks that remain of the season that he’ll learn from it because football is a small world and he can be a really good lad, but he can let his head wonder at times and I’m hoping that he gets his head back on and he’s a good professional and a good human being because his attributes as a goalkeeper are there to see”
It seems the 25-year-old has run foul of another manager during his time at the County Ground. Richie Wellens seems open to a return, but only if he sees some key changes with his goalkeeper.
So will we see Laurence Vigouroux back in a Swindon shirt? I have my doubts but we can only hope he takes on board the manager’s advice.
There is also the case that many Town fans, myself included, who would rather see Luke McCormick finish the season as the club’s number one.
Last weekend the former Plymouth goalkeeper made 3-4 superb saves to keep Yeovil at bay before their equaliser in added time.
Hopefully we’ll see Vigouroux back in the match day squad sooner rather than later, but in the meantime McCormick has more than proved he has the ability to be a safe pair of hands between the sticks.