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A look at the opposition: Swindon Town

2 September 2023

Club News

A look at the opposition: Swindon Town

2 September 2023

The Robins land in Doncaster having made an unbeaten start to the Sky Bet League Two campaign – and will certainly be in buoyant mood having dispatched Crawley Town 6-0 last weekend.

That took the tally to 15 goals from four league matches, showing the manner in which they have started the season in attacking terms. But they have shown vulnerability too – conceding five in a barnstorming draw with hotly-fancied Wrexham.

LAST TIME OUT

Swindon Town 6 Crawley Town 0

Sky Bet League Two, Saturday, August 26, 2023

Mahoney, Godwin-Malife, Brewitt, Blake-Tracy (Minturn 80), Hutton, McEachran, Khan (Kinsella 74), Uwakwe, Kemp (Shade 81), Young (Hepburn-Murphy 74), Austin (Wakeling 80).

THE MANAGER

The man tasked with taking Swindon back into League One is Michael Flynn, who arrived following the conclusion of last season. His managerial career began at hometown club Newport County, who he helped transform from perennial strugglers to genuine promotion contenders in League Two, including play-off appearances in 2018/19 - a season which also included a memorable run to the fifth round of the FA Cup – and 2019/20. Flynn – who made more than 400 appearances as a player – joined Walsall in February 2022 and remained until mid-April of this year.

THE KEY MEN

The keeper: Murphy Mahoney

The 21-year-old shot-stopper is on loan from Queens Park Rangers, who he has been on the books of since the age of ten. He spent time on loan at Welling United, Bath City and Stratford Town during the 2021/22 campaign before making his debut for Rangers in the Championship towards the end of that season following an injury to Keiren Westwood. He has started each of Swindon’s last four league games.

Defender: Tom Brewitt

The Liverpool-born defender was looking to fully establish himself in the EFL when joining Swindon in March this year and has done just that with 17 starts from 20 games since his arrival. Brewitt came through the ranks at Liverpool before a spells with Middlesbrough, AFC Fylde and Morecambe. A dual-national in the US, he spent time with Tacoma Defiance and Hartford Athletic prior to joining Swindon.

In midfield: George McEachran

Like his older brother Josh, McEachran emerged through the Chelsea Academy as a highly-rated midfielder – something he backed up as part of the England U17 squad that finished runners-up in the European Championship in 2017 before winning the World Cup later that year. While at Stamford Bridge he had loan spells with Cambuur and MVV in the Netherlands. The 23-year-old joined Swindon in February.

Up top: Charlie Austin

A player who needs little introduction, Austin played in the Premier League with Queens Park Rangers, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion. His arrival at Swindon last December was an emotional one, as it was the Robins who snapped him out of non-league in 2009. He scored 31 goals in 54 games in his first two seasons of EFL football before joining Burnley. The 34-year-old had a spell in Australia before returning to the County Ground.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Like Rovers, Swindon Town were formed in 1879 and also have strong links with the railways. But they did not meet until 1958/59 following the creation of the non-regionalised third and fourth tiers.

On March 27, 1959, a Jimmy Fletcher brace earned Rovers a 2-0 win over the Robins at Belle Vue before a goalless draw at the County Ground three days later.  

The two sides have met 26 times in total in the Football League with Rovers taking 12 wins and Town five.

TURNED OUT FOR BOTH

Two strikers enjoyed golden spells at Swindon prior to playing significant roles in good times for Rovers. Billy Paynter netted 26 goals in 42 appearances for Town in 2009/10, which earned him a move to Leeds United. He joined Rovers in August 2012 and scored 13 goals in 37 games as they secured the League One title that season.  

Andy Williams was snapped up from Swindon by Rovers in 2015 after scoring 21 goals in 46 appearances for the Robins. He managed 29 goals in 106 appearances for Rovers, including winning promotion from Sky Bet League Two in 2017.

Contributors: John Coyle, Gavin Hepworth

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