We spoke to the Swindon Advertiser’s Jonny Leighfield to get the lowdown on the Robins.
Q: It looks to have been a struggle for Swindon so far this season. What would you put this down to?
JL: It has been a bit of a struggle for Town, mainly due to the sheer number of injuries they’ve suffered. At one point recently, Town have 11 players out injured of their squad of 25 or so. The chopping and changing of the defence has been another key factor in the struggle, as has the general performances of the Manchester United loanee, Matej Kovar.
Kovar is improving, but he has not enjoyed a great start to the season. And while the number of poor goals has decreased, they are still conceding them. Coupled with the fact that the team is struggling to score at times, it’s a recipe for plenty of defeats.
Q: How much of a blow was it to lose Rovers legend Richie Wellens to Salford?
JL: Losing Richie Wellens was a pretty significant blow to the club’s aspirations, but Wellens is an extremely ambitious manager and Town simply aren’t able to match those ambitions with the state of the world right now
Like with most clubs who achieved success last season, the extended break killed any positive bounce they may have gained, and Town felt that more than most with the majority of their promotion-winning squad departing for a more favourable deal elsewhere.
Q: How has John Sheridan been received and how have Swindon performed so far since his arrival?
JL: The poor bloke wasn’t exactly met with a welcome party when he arrived, but then his poor record at more than half of his clubs would explain that one.
The win over Oxford certainly helped his approval rating, but then questionable tactics and a string of losses has seen another downturn
The style of football has gone from lovely, flowing passing moves to route one to the wingers, and it hasn’t been great to watch. Though for the majority of Sheridan’s spell, Town have been in games and played well for spells before inevitably throwing it away.
Q: What system and style of play does Sheridan favour?
JL: The system seems to change every week and in every game. He does like a 4-4-2 but Town don’t really have the players to fulfil that, so 5-3-2 and 4-2-3-1 have also been utilised.
As previously mentioned, it’s a lot of long ball and clearing your lines quickly. The attacking play is decent once the ball is in the final third, but the stuff behind is pretty agricultural.
Q: Who are the players to watch?
JL: At time of writing, Tyler Smith is the club’s chief goal-getter and has seven in 12 matches. When he’s given the right support, the Sheffield United loanee can sniff out a goal from anywhere.
Elsewhere, Arsenal loanee Matt Smith has impressed everyone since arriving at the start of the season, though the number of matches he has played due to necessity means he really needs a rest.
Meanwhile, winger Diallang Jaiyesimi can be unplayable on his day with his strength, speed and technical ability. He normally shows up in big games.