After every Town game, in time-honoured tradition, the manager fronts up the media and gives his views on the game, and every week Andrew Hawes from BBC Wiltshire will sneak into his interview with Ben Garner asking “(Is this season) Still about survival?”
And at the start of the season, the manager would instantly come back ensuring that survival was the aim of this season, and rightly so after the mess of pre-season.
But in recent weeks, and more noticeably last night, there was a pause of a few seconds before his answer of “Yeah”, whilst slightly laughing to himself.
Showing expectations amongst everyone at the club are ever so slowly increasing with every passing week, as another impressive away performance on Tuesday night saw Town move into third place in League Two.
With two stunning goals in the first half securing all the points, firstly from Louis Reed’s free-kick, then a long-range effort from Jonny Williams saw Swindon two up and cruising before a questionable handball was given against Mathieu Baudry in the penalty box, handing the home side the chance to half the deficit, which they took gladly.
Thankfully the hosts rarely threatened in the second half apart from a free-kick from Harry Beautyman slightly worrying Jojo Wollacott, this result against one of the in-form sides in the division shows the amount of depth Ben Garner has to work with as Ben Gladwin, Alex Gilbert, Kaine Kesler-Hayden and Anthony Grant were all on the Town bench, with only Gladwin used out of those first-team players.
Which is a huge turnaround from a couple of months ago, with our bench looking light on players who could make a difference if the result wasn’t going our way.
This is down to players such as Williams and Gladwin staying free from injury, but also Director of Football Ben Chorley’s squad building efforts over the season so far. The only area of the squad that could do with one extra body is centre-backs, now that the manager is sticking with his 3-5-2 formation.
Despite taking a positive result and enjoying our first league visit to Gander Green Lane, the only slight negative to take away was Baudry’s performance inside the back three.
The 33-year-old Frenchmen came into the team after Dion Conroy picked up a slight knock in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Rochdale, and it was clear from the kick-off it will take time for the defender to find his fitness and form as he never looked comfortable as he looked a few steps behind his teammates.
I don’t want to be harsh against the defender as his experience in the game will always help young defenders such as Romoney Crichlow and Akin Odimayo, but I don’t think he should be the man the manager goes to if we suffer another injury.
I would much prefer Anthony Grant to be used in that position, as we’ve seen him successfully play as a centre-back under Richie Wellens, and is most importantly match fit after his international call-up.
This weekend Town faces the daunting task of playing at the County Ground as they welcome 12th place Bradford City, who are coming off a 3-1 home defeat to Hartlepool United.
The Bantams have so far underperformed in League Two after hopes were high in the summer as they appointed Derek Adams as the new manager after he guided Morecambe to an unlikely promotion to League One last season.
Hopefully, this will be the game to kick start the club’s home form and try to make the County Ground the fortress we need it to be if we harbour any thoughts of promotion back to League One at the first attempt this season.