For the second time in just eleven days, an injury to a key player plays a major role in the outcome as Town never recover and were second best all over the pitch against a well-organised Newport County side.
Going by the manager’s post-match press conference on Saturday evening it seems Dion Conroy has suffered a similar injury he suffered in September 2017, which ruled him out of the entire 2017/18 campaign.
By the time you read this, you may know the full extent of the injury, but hopefully it’s not as bad as first feared, as Dion Conroy has been one of the first names on the team sheet this season and has enjoyed his best spell in a Town shirt since his arrival in early 2017.
On Saturday afternoon it was interesting to see the manager asking Anthony Grant to play as centre-back alongside Zeki Fryers and not introduce a natural for that position in Tom Broadbent or Taylor Curran who were available to use from the bench.
Wellens explained in his post-match interview that he felt “it’s too early to throw him (Curran) into that environment with the wind and long balls against a relentless team like Newport.” and he didn’t want to play Broadbent as “Tom is a bit low on confidence at the moment” also adding “If we put Tom on, we would’ve had two left-footers in the centre of defence.”
Those are two valid reasons for not playing these two players, but also worrying ones, as both these guys are in the squad for the exact situation that presented itself on Saturday afternoon.
Both players need games to get themselves match fit, a loan move for Curran seems the way forward to get him used to first-team football, with Broadbent having to use friendlies as a way of getting him back up to speed.
But with both these players not in contention to replace Conroy a dip into the free transfer market will be necessary, which isn’t ideal when you are gunning for promotion, but hopefully the recruitment team come up with a talented individual for the manager and they’ll be able to fit in comfortably alongside the returning Mathieu Baudry.
Sadly this week we learned the passing of Swindon Town legend Peter Downsborough who lost his battle with stomach and throat cancer last Thursday.
Downsborough signed for Town in August 1965 for £2,500 plus exchange for Bill Atkins and went on to become one of the greatest goalkeepers to ever play for the club, making 320 appearances over his eight seasons, incredibly playing 61 times over the hugely successful 1968/69 season.
He will be best remembered for his outstanding performance in the 1969 League Cup Final where he kept Arsenal at bay making save after save in one of the best showings by any keeper at the old Empire Stadium, ensuring Swindon Town won their first major trophy.
It’s no exaggeration to say his performance was just as important as Sir Don’s as without his heroics between the sticks Rogers wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go and win the game for Town.
It’s fitting that this weekend Town face one of Downsborough’s former sides in Bradford City at Valley Parade, who I’m sure will mark the occasion with a fitting tribute to the man who made over 500 career appearances for both clubs over thirteen years.
In regards to the starting eleven for this Saturday, Richie Wellens has to recall Michael Doughty, Danny Rose has performed well in his time in the team but it ridicules to have a player with Doughty’s talent on the bench.
We may see both midfielders in the starting eleven if Keshi Anderson hasn’t recovered from his injury with Doughty replacing Eoin Doyle, who is unable to play against his parent club. Which will see the former QPR man possibly playing behind the striker this Saturday in West Yorkshire.