Swindon meeting the opposition.
- I’d like to start this feature off by paying my respect and sending my condolences to the Gidman family following the death of young Nate, who the majority (if not all) Tranmere fans will know about. Nate’s fight with brain cancer was brought to an end on Monday in the early hours. However, his fight was one that galvanised the SWA and helped them through their own battles during such tricky times. Nate scoring against Joe Murphy on the 18th December was an emotional day to remember. For me, it’s the moment of the season.
- There will be a fundraiser at tonight’s game for the families chosen charity, ‘Children’s Brain Tumour Research Fund’.
Tranmere are now unbeaten in two after drawing away to Barrow as they aimed for a period of stabilisation following a crucifying defeat against Forest Green. However, they will need to fight to get more points next to their name against what many see as their ‘bogey team’ if this unbeaten run is to be extended.
Swindon have had a relatively good start to the season themselves, currently placed eighth and one point away from the Play-offs. However, they have failed to win in four games (drawing three) thus they will aim to get back to winning ways this week.
Ahead of Tuesday night’s game at Prenton Park, I spoke to Swindon Town supporter ‘@OOCSTFC’ who gave his thoughts on the club’s campaign so far amongst their transfer window before discussing how he believes the ninety minutes will pan out.
How long have you been following Swindon and what were your initial reasons for supporting the club?
I’ve been following the club since 2007 as I was taken by my dad from a young age. Supporting Swindon runs in the family.
Your Twitter page is ‘@OOCSTFC’. Would you say that you’re a relatively big account in the club’s fan media and what are some of the funniest or most unusual events linked to Swindon Town?
I probably talk the most rubbish of all our media accounts! The most unusual moment has to be not celebrating a title due to Covid. However, after what happened to Tranmere that summer I’ll not go into details!
What were your expectations going into the season and how do they compare to those that you have now as we enter the second half of the campaign?
There weren’t any expectations at the start after a change of ownership late into Pre season. After the start we’ve had most wouldn’t accept less than top 7. Personally, I would be happy with being in the top ten.
Ben Garner is Swindon’s manager following his appointment last year, how would you describe the former Bristol Rovers boss’ time at the club so far and are you optimistic about the future with him at the helm?
Garner certainly had a game plan. We’d dominate the ball and keep it on the deck. When it works it looks amazing. However, our lack of a ‘plan B’ has come back to bite us recently as we’ve dropped points far too easily. I think Garner will be here for at least another year.
What are your thoughts on the ownership at the club and who are they?
The club has recently been taken over by Australian Clem Morfuni after a long court battle with old owner Lee Power. Clem seems to have the club and fans at heart, a far cry from the old regime.
Who would you say are your stand out men and who, in your opinion, are Tranmere’s key players?
Due to injuries and suspension, two of our better players in Jack Payne and Louis Reed are unavailable. So, our two men to watch on Tuesday night will be Harry McKirdy who’s had a fantastic January (including four goals in one game against Northampton) and Welsh international Jonny Williams who, in my opinion, is a high end League One player.
For Tranmere, I’d say your two central defenders who have bags of experience will be hard to break down – Peter Clarke and Tom Davies. Elliott Nevitt’s height gave us problems in August and may do the same tomorrow.
How do you see the upcoming fixture panning out, score prediction etc, and do you believe this game will pose different questions than the previous encounter (A 0-0 draw at Swindon in mid August) did? If so, why?
I believe the game will pan out with us dominating the ball with you looking to catch us on the counter. We struggle to keep clean sheets, we’ve had one since October, whilst you are defensively solid.
My score prediction is 1-1.
What starting eleven do you think will be selected by Garner and how would you describe the playing style he’s implemented on his squad?
I believe the 11 will be – GK. Jojo Wollacott. CB. Brandon Cooper. CB. Jake O’Brien. CB. Akin Odimayo. RWB. Rob Hunt. CM. Ryan East. CM. Jonny Williams. CM. Ben Gladwin. LWB. Joe Tomlinson. ST. Harry McKirdy. ST. Louie Barry.
As mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t expect you to have much of the ball but it will mainly be in our half between the three central defenders and East as the ‘holder’ if you will.
Thinking of previous encounters between the two clubs, what games/moments stand out as being memorable for you?
Tranmere is one of the few clubs we have a good record against. My personal favourite has to be a 5-0 win just before Christmas when Tranmere were top of League One. Proper Di Canio masterclass.
As the January transfer window has now finished, how would you describe the business The Robins were able to complete in terms of incomings and outgoings?
In terms of outgoings, three loan players were recalled with two being sent back to League One clubs. Those are probably our biggest losses.
Louie Barry on loan from Villa is one for the future and not many players will go from Barcelona to Swindon!
6 ‘5 O’Brien brings a bit of an aerial threat in both boxes which we’ve been missing all season. Hes’ Palace’s U23’s captain and looks a bright prospect too.