Last orders for Town

By Alfie Howlett - 23 February 2024


A column by Swindon Link STFC correspondent Alfie Howlett

As we enter the longer days of spring, Swindon find their season getting shorter. 

While flowers bloom, Swindon will see little blossom. Their season is ultimately over with nothing to play for, no promotion, no relegation. 

Swindon’s splurge in the January transfer window offered revived encouragement that they could turn their fortunes around. However, now it appears a desperate bid to do your shopping on Christmas Eve. 

In truth, Swindon made some impressive acquisitions in January. However, I fear it’s simply a case of coming too late for it to make an impact.

This feeling is further consolidated with the decision to install Gavin Gunning as interim head coach - until the end of the season. We might well experience a slight upturn in results, yet not the drastic improvement required to close in on the play-offs. 

In my opinion, Gunning’s appointment is yet another underwhelming one for Town. Once again it signals a lack of ambition.

Despite the former centre half being a reliable caretaker last season, picking up seven points from nine, the decision to appoint him with such a sizeable chunk of the season remaining was surprising. Especially when there were, as always, higher profile names in the job centre. 

Should Swindon have made a more experienced appointment, hopes would’ve grown around SN1.

Instead, I feel as if the task of blending in such an influx of players will be difficult and timely for an inexperienced rookie. Therefore, this leads me to believe that there will be little improvement and consequently little to write home about this campaign.

One of the new faces brought back to Town in January was a rather familiar one. It was of course that of Harry McKirdy. The fan favourite returned to the County Ground on deadline day as he put pen to paper on a deal which saw him join on loan from Hibernian until the end of the season. 

From a fan’s perspective, I was delighted to see the forward return. And I really do hope that McKirdy can rediscover his mojo which made him the loveable character which he is.

Another signing who has impressed me is Conor McCarthy, the 6ft4in centre half is exactly what The Robins have been crying out for. Joining on loan from Barnsley, the Irishman offers a tall and commanding presence in the middle of the back three. However, once again it’s a sorry story of what could have been for Town. 

Should they have signed a player of McCarthy’s quality in the Summer, then their season most likely wouldn’t have drifted away by now.

There’s no doubt that the remaining games will be tediously frustrating for the Town faithful. Yet, it could provide a good opportunity for those signed permanently in January to get their feet under the table and kick on ahead of next season. 

And perhaps it could even be a good opportunity for Gavin Gunning to prove himself as he potentially auditions for the managerial role next season.

Your Comments

Be the first to comment on this article

Login or Register to post a comment on this article

Subscribe to The Link

Registered in England & Wales. No: 4513027, Positive Media Group, Old Bank House, 5 Devizes Road, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4BJ