After a break of 10 days, Swindon Town return to action at the County Ground on good Friday and will entertain Blackpool looking for a third win in a row.
After the excellent away win at Fleetwood, Swindon Town followed it up a couple of days later with a 1-0 away win at Bristol Rovers.
It was not a pleasing on the eye game, but the victory and the three points is all that mattered. Jack Payne got the only goal with just under twenty minutes remaining. A bit of a faux pas from the Bristol Rovers social media team and they gave Swindon goal to Scott Twine.
It was a closely fought game up until Payne scored after Scott Twine free kick was blocked. Swindon Town after the goal looked more assured and comfortable. Bar one moment where Akin Odimayo had to perform a brilliant last-ditch challenge. The win was maybe a bit fortunate; it did look like on replays that the Bristol Rovers goal that was disallowed for offside should have stood. Swindon got the break that evening and then capitalised not long after with the Jack Payne winner.
Winning the last two games against Fleetwood and Bristol Rovers has been so crucial in the battle of survival. Just to think before kick off against Fleetwood, the club was bottom of the league. Now they are sitting above the dotted line in 19th position and just 4 points behind Burton Albion on 41 points. Guess who Swindon Town next away game, yep you guessed it away to Burton Albion on Monday afternoon.
I hope going into the run of games in April and till the end of the season, that John Sheridan keeps with the trusted 3-4-2-1 like he has in the last two games. It has brought success in the last two games. It does help when you have an experienced goalkeeper in between the sticks in the last two games with Lee Camp in goal. The change of form and confidence in the side has changed dramatically since his introduction to the side. Two clean sheets 6 points, his signing on a free-transfer and the introduction to the starting XI has been an absolute game changer. The side looks more assured with an experienced goalkeeper at the helm.
Predicted starting XI vs Blackpool. 3-4-2-1
Camp, Odimayo, Grant, Iandolo, Caddis, Palmer, Payne, Thompson, Garrick, Twine, Pitman
Blackpool visit the County Ground on Friday afternoon, harbouring thoughts of a double over Swindon Town this season. Blackpool won the return fixture in the second week of the season with two goals from CJ Hamilton in September 2020.
Neil Critchley side are hovering outside of the league one play-offs with 57 points from 35 games. Gillingham are ahead of Blackpool in the league one standings by one point but have played 4 more games.
Blackpool are unbeaten in the last 11 league one fixtures, the last defeat in league one was against Ipswich Town on the 6th Feb 2021 losing 2-0 at Portman Road. In the next 11 fixtures Neil Critchley side have picked up 23 points from a possible 33. Elevating the side from 14th in the league one standings to as a high as 6th in the league table.
In the last 6 games, Blackpool have won three and drawn three. The three wins have come against MK Dons (A), Oxford United (A) and against high flying Peterborough United 3-1 (H). The three draws have come against Fleetwood 0-0 (H), Burton Albion 1-1 (H). Finally, this weekend against Plymouth Argyle at home drawing 2-2.
Neil Critchley has switched his tactics on the pitch to cater to his squad. This season he has played a 3-5-2, 4-3-3, 4-1-4-1, 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1 and in recent weeks a 4-2-3-1.
The key players to watch out for in this Blackpool side:
A player that Swindon Town fans know and hold dearly in their hearts. Jerry Yates who performed brilliantly last season for Swindon Town in the PPG league two title win, has done excellently this season for Blackpool after a slow start. 15 goals and 3 assists in 34 league one games, remember Yates went goalless in the opening 9 games of the season in the league he featured in for Blackpool. He broke his duck for the club in a 2-1 away win at Burton Albion on Halloween. In his last 15 league one games Jerry Yates has scored 10 goals, including 3 in his last 2 games against Peterborough United and Plymouth Argyle.
The second and final player to watch out for is left winger Sullay Kaikai, 4 goals and 6 assists in 28 league one appearances. Kaikai can play either on the left or the right-hand side of attack but is more dangerous from the left-hand side. He was not in the side when the teams last met in September when CJ Hamilton scored twice, but CJ Hamilton is missing the game through injury the burden has been put on to Kaikai shoulders to prove an attacking outlet for Jerry Yates and co to score. 3 assists and 1 goal in his last 6 games, Kaikai will be looking to add to that on good Friday.
This is coming into the business end of the season, both sides have different objectives. Swindon Town are desperate for points to beat the drop back to league two. While on the other hand Blackpool are vying for a top 6 spot. Swindon are in unbeaten and look transformed in the last few weeks while Blackpool are unbeaten in 11, this will be a tough game and an intriguing game to watch. A victory for Swindon would be excellent in the fight for survival, a loss and results going against them could see the robins dragged back into the crammed relegation fight.
Preview by Scot Munroe