Swindon Town meeting the opposition.
On Saturday afternoon, Micky Mellon’s Tranmere travel to Swindon Town’s County Ground where they will look to put an end to their poor form having failed to win any of their last five.
Swindon’s last two games have brought eleven goals, their last outing resulting in a 4-0 loss at Stockport County which they will look to bounce back from.
Ahead of the game, I spoke to @OfficialSTFC, ‘Out of context Swindon Town’, about The Robins.
Last season, Swindon Town were defeated on penalties, by the eventual winners, at Vale Park in the Play-Off Semis. What are your thoughts when you look back on that campaign?
I felt we slightly over achieved in the grand scheme of things. The aim at the start of the year was purely to stay up after having 6 professional players 10 days before the season started. To miss out on automatic promotion by only a couple of points and miss out on a play off final by a penalty shoot out made it a fantastic season.
This summer nineteen players entered the gates of the County Ground either on loan or on a permanent basis, including former Tranmere forward Rushain Hepburn-Murphy. Were you happy with the transfer business both with the players that came in and out? Do you believe that other positions need to be strengthened as we’re nearing the January window?
After losing head coach Ben Garner and 3 players (Wollacott, Payne and Egbo) to Charlton it was always going to be difficult to replace them. We’ve taken a ‘moneyball’ style approach by signing players who perhaps haven’t been utilised at other clubs such as Jacob Wakeling who had 4 appearances at Barrow last season and already has 4 goals and 5/6 assists this season. I’m overall very satisfied with the transfer business done in the summer. Looking forward to January the only major business I would like to see happen is turn two current loan players (Blake-Tracy and Jephcott) into permanents and if Jonny Williams does decide to move on a suitable replacement for him. I feel a second choice goalkeeper wouldn’t go a miss either.
Manager Scott Lindsey, who was at eighth tier Chatham Town between 2019-2021, was appointed this summer as Ben Garner took over at Charlton Athletic. What are your thoughts on his time at the club so far? What’s his relationship with the supporters like and how would you describe his playing style?
There were a few eyebrows raised when Scott was announced as he was a assistant last year. A lot, myself included, didn’t feel he was ready for the top job. After a slow start with a lack of goals we seemed to have gelled nicely under him. He loves this football club and is always honest in defeats and doesn’t look to blame others. I would say our style is very similar to last season in that we like to dominate possession and will probably set up in a 4-3-3 but could possibly be a 4-1-2-1-2 depending on personnel.
Sydney plumber Clem Morfuni took full ownership of Swindon days before the 2021-22 season kicked off. What are your thoughts on him and what would you like to be done at the club in the near future, to improve any aspect of it?
Clem has given new life to this club, we are now very close to being debt free and have a clear project for the future. He’s always been transparent with finance which is refreshing from the last owner. He has plans to revamp the County Ground including a roof on the stand behind the goal and perhaps making the other Stand behind the goal 2 tiered.
Midfielder Jonny Williams, who has represented Wales at senior level 33 times, is the club’s top goalscorer with six strikes this season. Who do you believe are Swindon’s players to watch, as Harry Mckirdy has departed for Hibernian, and where will the key battles be played out on Saturday afternoon?
Obviously Williams is the one to watch, he’s on fire at the moment including one of the best performances I’ve seen from a league two player at Mansfield a few weeks ago. Away from him, I feel a lot of the play will come through Sadiou Khan/ Louis Reed who will look to dictate the play from the base of the midfield. I would also keep an eye on Remaeo Hutton who loves to get forward and attack and has been another stand out performer this year.
A player who has played for both clubs, as mentioned in a previous question, is Rushain Hepburn-Murphy. How has he started his time at Swindon?
Rush has unfortunately been plagued with injuries. He played for 20 mins in a Papa Johns Trophy game against Plymouth where he scored a late goal for us. He then came off with Injury in the following game against Grimsby. In that 20 minutes against Plymouth he showed a lot of pace and hopefully when fully fit can be a good player for us.
What are your realistic targets for this season with Swindon currently placed sixth? Do you believe that promotion is firmly in sight after last season’s late disappointment?
I think after last season the majority of fans wouldn’t accept less than promotion. While I feel the squad is good enough I still feel there are too many inconsistencies to finish in the top 3. I believe a top 7 finish is more than capable though.
Score prediction for Saturday? The last time the two club’s met was in early February at Prenton Park when Rovers won 3-0, Kane Hemmings netted two as Paul Glatzel struck the other.
I think it depends on which Swindon shows up. If the slow methodical easy to play against Swindon shows up I think Tranmere will have a fairly comfortable defensive performance. If the fast high temp Swindon turn up we could easily score 2/3. I do however think Tranmere will score as we have a lot of defensive injuries. I’ll say 2-1 Swindon.
If you have been keeping up with Micky Mellon’s Tranmere this campaign, thoughts on them? Do you believe they will have what it takes to finish in the Play-Offs?
I know that Micky Mellon sides press well and work hard out of possession. While you never see Tranmere score bucket loads you never see them concede a lot either. Tranmere are very good at grinding out those results and I think that they have a few weapons that can hurt teams like the experience of Hemmings and ex Swindon player Turnbull from set pieces.
I would expect to see Tranmere at least in the top 10 come May
The County Ground, Swindon Town. Tranmere’s last win came here in March 2006 as Chris Greenacre and Sam Aiston netted for Brian Little’s side.