Swindon Town travel to the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night with confidence brimming after picking up a massive home win over Northampton Town on Saturday afternoon.
That performance on Saturday which was points over performance capped off an impressive last 7 days for the Robins. 7 points out of 3 games and pushed themselves out of the relegation zone in the meantime. The Northampton Town home win was not pretty, but it was effective, the last two home performances wasn’t pretty but getting the points was all that was needed.
Two academy players impressed for Swindon Town on Saturday, Scott Twine for the third game in a row impressed and look back to himself in the no10 role. on Tuesday he was the man of the match away at Lincoln and showed his qualities once again on Saturday in the win. Plus, he showed his credentials from set pieces with the brilliant equaliser. Archie Matthews came into the starting Xi after the injury in the warmup to emergency goalkeeper loanee Joe Wollacott. It was a baptism of fire thrown into the deep end in your league debut for the club at 19 and the academy prospect did not disappoint with some telling saves. Every time Matthews did good you can hear the encouragement from the touchline from goalkeeping coach Steve Mildenhall.
Archie Matthews was the 35th Swindon Town player to play under John Sheridan this season and the 5th goalkeeper. Sheridan has only been in charge since early November and we are in the first week of March.
It was announced today that Connal Trueman would be joining Swindon Town on an emergency loan deal from Birmingham city. Trueman spent the first half of this season on loan at AFC Wimbledon making 22 appearances. Trueman would also be the 6th goalkeeper to make his debut for Swindon, the other 5 have been unbeaten with 4 wins and 1 draw.
It was important for me to pick up the 7 points in a week, because the next set of fixtures for Swindon Town are tough. We play Sunderland, Accrington Stanley and then the a420 derby against Oxford United. Any points from these next games are a bonus in our fight for survival.
Predicted line up vs Sunderland.
Trueman, Caddis, Conroy, Broadbent, Grounds, Missilou, Payne, Garrick, Twine, Thompson, Pitman.
Sunderland is in 5th position in the league one table with 51 points from 30 games and pushing for automatic promotion. Lee Johnson side have been on a fantastic run with 1 defeat in the last 9 league games which was 2-1 defeat against Shrewsbury Town. Since the defeat at home to Plymouth Argyle on the 19th of January, Sunderland has picked up 19 points from 9 games which has propelled them from 15th place to the top 5.
The last 4 games have been impressive and has seen the black cats take 10 points from a possible 12. Big homes win Doncaster Rovers 4-1 followed a 3-0 away at Burton and then a 2-0 home win over Fleetwood. Just this weekend, Sunderland showed amazing character to come from 2-0 down away at Crewe Alexandra to draw 2-2 in the 97th minute thanks to a wonderful goal from Chris Maguire.
Lee Johnson has been taken this Sunderland side who were drifting into league one obscurity back into the play off picture. In his 16 league games in charge, he has amassed an impressive 27 points.
The key players to look out for in this Sunderland side.
Goal scorer Charlie Wyke who scored in the reverse fixture at the County Ground back in October as Sunderland won the game 2-0. 18 league goals in 28 league appearances with 2 assists, Wyke has found the golden touch in his last 5 games with 6 goals and an assist. 4 goals in a 4-1 home win over Doncaster Rovers, which was followed up by goals against Lincoln City and Burton Albion. Wyke managed to get an assist for the equaliser from Chris Maguire.
The second and final player to watch out for is the Sunderland captain Grant Leadbitter, the 35-year-old Sunderland fan is an important cog on the wheel at Sunderland. 6 goals and 1 assist in 28 appearances this season. Leadbitter has a passing stat of 84.1% this season in league one and one of his strongest attributes is his passing and will be trying to unlock the Swindon defence with his passing.
For me, this game away at the Stadium of light tomorrow night is a free hit like the game against Lincoln City. It will be a tough game against a strong rejuvenated Sunderland side under Lee Johnson who are looking for loftier ambitions and a root back into the Championship and beyond.
Preview by Scot Monroe