Its been a rough couple of weeks being a Swindon fan with results not going the way the fans expected. Last week defeat to AFC Wimbledon was Swindon 3rd defeat in a row in all competition and 6th defeat in 8 games this season.
Injuries and poor form have ravaged the start of the season for the Robins, what was bad news during the early part of this week was losing striker Brett Pitman for a month with a groin injury. The loss of Matt Palmer dealt a blow in the midfield, Palmer joined Wigan Athletic on a loan deal to January. Leaving bodies now short in midfield and up front, this is going to be a long couple of months to the next transfer window. Free Agents are still available and that is where the club can now pick up players. it sounded like a frustrating end to the transfer window, like many clubs in the EFL and lower down, Swindon are strapped for cash due to the global pandemic we are having now. I think fans should realise that and not go spouting over social media that the club is broke. Remember if no one bails the EFL out with loans there will not be many clubs left. That is the reality of it now.
Swindon posted a training video on Friday and it showed a couple of familiar faces back in training and I wonder if we could see them starting on Saturday against Sunderland. Both Paul Caddis and Rob Hunt were spotted back in training by some eagle eye fans on the social media. Some good news after a bit of a crappy last couple of weeks. Hopefully, the return of these two players could help in the full back positions. Rob Hunt was on the bench last week and was not risked as Jordan Stevens and Dion Donohue were chosen in the full back/wing back roles. A position that Stevens was not accustomed to and struggled through out the game. Granted he was struggling with a stomach bug and may not feature in this game also. With the busy schedule coming ahead I am hoping no one else picks up an injury as we are down to the bare bones.
My predicted XI for tomorrow in a 4-2-3-1
Kovar, Hunt, Grounds, Baudry, Donohue, Grant, M. Smith, J. Smith, Payne, Jaiyesimi and T. Smith
Sunderland who along with Ipswich Town are many people tips for promotion, they have started the season well. With two wins and two draws and sit in 7th place in the League one table. This is the Black Cats third season in the third tier after play off final defeat to Charlton in may 2019 and last season abrupt end to the season due to Coronavirus pandemic where the club finished 8th on PPG and missing the play offs by one point.
Sunderland started the season with a 1-1 home draw against Bristol Rovers, Swindon nemesis Chris Maguire grabbed a late equaliser to save Sunderland blushes on the first game of the season. George Dobson was sent off in stoppage time for Violent Conduct. Following the opening day draw was a 2-0 draw away at Oxford United. Goals from Luke O’Nien and Lynden Gooch gave Sunderland their first win of the season. There first home of the season in the league happened just a week later with a 1-0 win over Peterborough thanks to a penalty from club legend and stalwart Grant Leadbitter. Leadbitter is a Sunderland fan and came up through the club’s academy. He lost his father in 2008 and his dad ashes were buried under the pitch at the stadium of light. Leadbitter went through tragedy last May, he lost his mother to cancer just a day before the play off final second leg to Portsmouth and played the game. Jack Ross the manager at the time and his close mate George Honeyman knew about it.
The previous game before the international break was a 0-0 draw at the valley and for the second time this season had a player sent off as defender Tom Flanagan picked up a straight red card. Phil Parkinson has been playing a 3-4-3 in the league and 3-5-2 in the cup competitions this season. I think it will be a different opposition from last week where AFC Wimbledon played with a back 5 and looked to defend deep. I would expect Sunderland to defend high and hit Swindon in the wide positions. A key man for Sunderland will be a name that Swindon Town fans will be all and familiar with and that is Chris Maguire. A man who has taunted us for many a year especially during his Oxford United days.
I was confident at the start of the week, but after Friday transfer dealings and the loss of a couple of players to injuries and moves away, I am less confident going into tomorrow game. I fear Sunderland will come to the County Ground and pick up the three points. I am hopeful to be proven wrong, we will see come 5pm on Saturday afternoon.