Swindon Town will entertain Crewe Alexandra in a must win game for the Robins in the battle to avoid the drop back to league two.
Without playing last weekend due to the circumstances of the away game at Bristol Rovers being called off due to a frozen pitch, Swindon Town had to rely on other teams to defeat the teams below them in the league. Step forward Oxford United and Hull City who both picked up wins over Wigan Athletic in the last 5 days, but Burton Albion is the team to watch out for in the bottom 4. The sit bottom of the league with 22 points but have won 3 out of the 5 and included an away win at Northampton Town. The battle for survival will go down to the wire.
After the postponement of the game on Saturday morning, it came out later this week that the game should have went ahead. The PGMOL confirmed that Saturdays Westcountry derby should have gone ahead, Leigh Doughty called the game off at 11.15am on Saturday. Which surprised the staff at Bristol Rovers, they got in touch with the EFL and the PGMOL and asked for a request for the game to be played later on Saturday or on Sunday. Much to what happened in both the Lincoln-Accrington Stanley and Oxford-United games which were played on Sunday. Bristol Rovers request was rejected, and Swindon Town rejected for the game to be played on Valentine day as they would not have anywhere to train beforehand. The game has been re-arranged for the 23rd March.
Swindon Town received a massive blow midweek with on loan defender Conor Masterson may miss the rest of the season with a hamstring injury which is more serious that first thought. Masterson picked up the injury against Shrewsbury at the beginning of the month. After Scan it is now feared that Masterson could miss the next 10-12 weeks of action. This is a big blow, as the defensive problems at Swindon Town have been horrific and Masterson looked assured and comfortable when in the starting XI.
Joe Wollacott 7-day emergency loan has been extended by another 7 days which was confirmed today by the club social media account. He will make his debut tomorrow against Crewe after last weeks game being called off.
Predicted XI for Crewe Alexandra
Wollacott, Caddis, Odimayo, Conroy, Thompson, Payne, Missilou, Palmer, Hope, Pitman, Garrick
Crewe Alexandra are the visitors to the County Ground this weekend, David Artell side are comfortably sitting in 12 position in the league 1 table with 40 points from 28 games. they are looking to inflict more pain on to Swindon Town this season and looking for the double after winning the return match at The Alexandra Stadium 4-2, after being 2-0 down Crewe roared back with a brilliant comeback against a leggy Swindon Town side who were running on empty.
Crewe Alexandra have been very inconsistent in the last 6 games by winning 2, drawing 2 and losing 2. The loss away at Gillingham on the 26thJanuary was the first defeat for Crewe Alexandra in the league in 10 games. Gillingham did a number on David Artell side that evening with a 4-1 home win with Olly Lee bagging a brace. Veteran Striker Chris Porter netted a late consolation. Bristol Rovers and Shrewsbury have both been defeated in recent weeks, 2 1-1 draws both at home to AFC Wimbledon and Ipswich town. Crewe Alexandra last outing in the league was on the 06th February was a 2-0 away defeat at Weston Homes Stadium against a resurgent Peterborough United side.
David Artell likes to play one with his Crewe Alexandra sides and that is on the front foot, with quick attacking passing football. The games between Swindon Town and Crewe in the last two seasons have been very entertaining and I think tomorrows game will be the same.
The three key players to watch out for from David Artell side, Owen Dale who can play either on the right- or left-hand side of attack. Been mainly deployed on the right side of attack, Dale has had a productive season in front of goal, Owen Dale has been involved in 8 goals in 26 league appearances with 7 goals and 1 assist. Dale was the hero in Crewe Alexandra last win over Shrewsbury as he scored the only goal of the game in the first half.
The Second key player to keep an eye out for is Mikael Mandron. The French striker has proved to be a good foil for the more expressive Crewe Alexandra players in the squad. Mandron this season in league one has been involved in 7 goals in 24 appearances with 6 goals and 1 assist. Mandron is going through a lean patch in front of goal at the moment, he has not scored in his last 6 appearances, the last goal he scored came on Boxing day in a 1-1 draw against Fleetwood Town.
The third and final player is Charlie Kirk, kirk has been involved in 9 goals in 25 league appearances with 5 goals and 4 assists. He has been on the bench for the last two games and will be raring to go, last scored in the 1-1 draw against Ipswich Town at the end of January. He is a wonderful player to watch, he drifts in from the left-hand side of the Crewe attack with so much ease and guile. On his day he will cause a lot of team’s problems.
Another big game for Swindon Town this season, the games are coming thick and fast and we are coming into the important time of the season. Wins are needed at this time of this season to elevate themselves of the bottom four. Against an inconsistent Crewe Alexandra side could be the perfect time for this struggling Swindon Town side to pick up points.
Preview by Scot Munroe