Home New Article DAN THE FAN: Survival hopes boosted by The General
DAN THE FAN: Survival hopes boosted by The General
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DAN THE FAN: Survival hopes boosted by The General

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We’ve all been in situations where are expectations sadly fall short, whether it’s not getting that Christmas present you’ve been hinting at for months or meeting one of your heroes and they turn out to be incredibly underwhelming.

After admitting live on the radio, he felt his time at Town had come to an end. The vast majority were ready for a few days last week for the announcement that manager John Sheridan had left Swindon Town, but expectations were dashed as he confirmed he was staying in his role last Tuesday to the bewilderment of the Town Faithful.

But around comes Saturday and Town make the long trip to Fleetwood, and like many Town fans I had already written them off after all the evidence of the previous four games.

2:00 pm arrives, and we see Anthony Grant in the starting eleven, and he’s playing in a back three with Ellis Iandolo and Akin Odimayo.

That’s a defensive midfielder in Grant, a left-back and sometimes winger in Iandolo and sometimes centre-back but more often right-back Odimayo as the men trusted to keep out one of the most inform sides in League One.

But amazingly it worked a treat as Swindon came away with a surprising 2-0 win thanks to a first career brace from Scott Twine.

After many different partnerships at the heart of defence, the manager has discovered something that could be the catalyst for Swindon Town’s survival this season as in both games all three put in excellent performances.

We have seen Grant play as an emergency centre-back for Richie Wellens last season so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see him there, but it was the way he fitted straight into the role which took me by surprise after spending so long away from first-team football.

He adds that essential experience to the back-line which has been missing this season, that vital experience and encouragement for Odimayo and Iandolo during both games was refreshing to see, also having a voice just as experienced in new arrival Lee Camp will be priceless moving into the final nine games of the season.

This set-up was again used against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night in one of the most important local derbies in many years and thanks to Jack Payne’s second half goal Town pick up their first back-to-back wins of the season, another clean sheet and most importantly we now see ourselves three points outside the bottom four.

Ever since late January I’ve been calling for John Sheridan to be removed from his job as Swindon Town manager, and that’s certainly still the case, but after giving him plenty of stick over the last couple of months, I’ll give him credit for the tactical decision to go with three at the back, as using Anthony Grant as the cornerstone in the side worked brilliantly, some may say it’s a solution that’s been staring him in the face, but thankfully he’s tried something different and it’s paid off.

Despite this I don’t think the way the manager handled Dion Conroy and Tom Broadbent is in anyway justified, I’ll agree neither player has covered themselves in glory over the past month and leaving them out has been the right choice but embarrassing them with stupid substitutions, stripping Conroy of the captaincy and leaving them out of both squads this week was a mistake.

They both still have lots to give for Swindon Town this season, and I hope the way the manager has disrespected them hasn’t caused irreparable damage to their time at the County Ground.

Sadly, Town now have to wait 10 days until their next game with Rochdale this weekend being moved due to international call-ups. It would’ve been ideal to keep this momentum going on the back of two huge results, but this break will also work to our advantage and give more time to prepare for Blackpool who visits the County Ground on Good Friday.

Then we’re back on our tour of playing other sides in and around the bottom half of the League One table, as on Easter Monday we face a recently revitalised Burton Albion.

Before this week I would’ve had no belief we’d get anything from these two games but after witnessing the past week we can go into games with a renewed hope of picking up some points and incredibly, a chance of survival in League One this season.

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