As the full-time whistle blew at the New Meadow on Saturday it felt as if Matt Smith’s 93rd-minute equaliser could’ve been a real turning point going into their midweek fixture, but instead we witnessed a pathetic, feeble performance for John Sheridan’s first game at the County Ground.
Last week I suggested Paul Tisdale should be the man to take the club forward, which in hindsight seems ridiculous, as it now seems obvious who was top of Lee Power’s list of candidates.
Someone who has connections to people at the top of the club, and looking for a way out of the mess at his previous employer.
John Sheridan wouldn’t have been many people’s choice for the job, myself included, but like any new manager I’m willing to support and get behind the manager as he’s currently in charge of something very close to my heart, it’s vital that he succeeds at SN1 and lifts this side away from any potential relegation trouble.
I don’t think any Town fan isn’t aware of the tough job the new manager has taken on until he starts getting key players back from injury.
Fryers, Conroy, Jaiyesimi, Tyler Smith, Iandolo, Donohue, and Lyden, all seven would be playing a role in the first team if they were fit, leaving Sheridan with a hand-tied behind his back in terms of playing the best side available to him.
He inherits a side lacking confidence and a style of play since the previous manager walked away, these two things I’m sure will be top of his list when he started his new job last week, but his biggest job, along with his coaching staff, will be working on his defence with Town already shipping 36 goals in 16 games across all competitions.
My first Swindon game was a year after we competed in the Premier League, and I’ve always been disappointed I missed out on seeing Town take on the best sides in the country, but one thing I’m now starting to witness for myself is how bad the defence could’ve been in 1993/94 to conceded over 100 goals in just one season, as at this current rate, we could be reaching those sorts of numbers.
The decision on who plays between the sticks will be a tough call for the new boss, I wouldn’t have dropped Matej Kovar, as a settled number one is vital during any season, but as explained by Sheridan after the match on Saturday this was Steve Mildenhall’s decision, and he knows those two men better than anyone at the club.
Now the decision has been made to play Fryer he has to stick with him, as you can’t keep switching your keeper in and out of a side, consistency is needed for the men playing in front of him.
When he focuses on which formation to play this weekend, he needs to go back to playing three defenders and two wing-backs, a formation that worked well against Forest Green, and those centre-backs need to be Mathieu Baudry, Tom Broadbent, and Akin Odimayo, with Rob Hunt and Jordan Stevens as wing-backs.
Since arriving in Wiltshire Jonathan Grounds has done a decent job for someone who had played very little football in 2020, but that is now catching up with him as two big mistakes in recent weeks and last night’s poor showing means a spot on the bench is needed and will bring Tom Broadbent back into the side.
At the end of last season, I named Broadbent the most improved player of the season as his form dramatically improved as the campaign gained momentum.
I understand he hasn’t played much football recently but he would bring something else into this side which is missing, having a big presence in the box to defend set-pieces.
This Saturday, Town face Bristol Rovers at the County Ground in a huge derby game with both desperate to pull themselves away from the bottom four.
It’s also vital for the new man in charge as despite the season still being relatively in its youth, he needs to pick up his first win and garner some positivity with the Town faithful as soon as possible in his time at SN1.