Opposition View: How 'improving' Swindon Town are faring as they welcome Doncaster Rovers

Doncaster Rovers return to league action this weekend after their enforced break of more than three weeks as they travel to one of the last teams they faced.

Friday, 15th January 2021, 12:00 pm

Swindon Town - who Rovers beat 2-1 on December 15 - await at the County Ground on Saturday, looking to ignite their survival push after beating Ipswich Town last time out.

We spoke to Jonny Leighfield at the Swindon Advertiser to get the lowdown on John Sheridan’s side.

Q: It's only been a month since the last meeting. How have Swindon fared since then and have they shown improvement?

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Swindon Town's County Ground home

JL: Town have only played three games since defeat at the Keepmoat, and that run has seen a little bit of everything.

A credible draw at home to Charlton followed, courtesy of a 90th minute equaliser, before a pathetic performance at home to MK Dons in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day resulted in a 4-1 defeat.

The steady upwards curve in terms of performance finally produced three points last weekend against Ipswich – a result that had been a long time coming.

If the performances remain at the level they have been, Swindon will give Doncaster another good game.

Q: Has there been any transfer business so far this month?

JL: There was plenty of business done in the first week, but the second has been very quiet.

Scott Twine and Matt Palmer returned from their respective loans while there was a swap in goal. Matej Kovar went back to Manchester United after a poor stint, and Bournemouth goalkeeper, Mark Travers was brought in as a replacement.

Left-back Dom Thompson and right-back Kieron Freeman also arrived, with just a couple of strikers remaining on John Sheridan’s wish list.

I expect Town to sign two or three more before the end of the window.

Q: It is still very congested at the bottom end of League One. Are you confident Swindon can survive?

JL: Before the MK Dons game, I was. That result rocked my confidence, however, the Ipswich performance breathed new life back into it.

At this point, I am more hopeful as opposed to confident, just because of how tight it is.

I would prefer it if the points came sooner rather than later too, as I don’t want the same method of PPG to decide a relegation as well as promotion.

Q: What system and style of play does John Sheridan favour? Have there been any tweaks since last month?

JL: Initially, it was more long ball, but it has certainly settled down into more of what Town fans have been used to over the past year or two.

He is a horses-for-courses kind of manager anyway, so I reckon Doncaster are likely to face a similar style as the game in December, only with a more steady defence to contend with.

Q: Who are the players to watch out for?

JL: As before, Matt Smith and Diallang Jaiyesimi are the ones to watch.

Scott Twine marked his return with a goal-of-the-season contender against Ipswich, and Dom Thompson was my man of the match last week on debut.

The goalkeeper is also a marked improved from the club’s last number one too.

If I had to predict which Town player will win man of the match though, I’d go for Diallang Jaiyesimi.

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.