The festive season is upon STFC

By Alfie Howlett - 23 November 2021

Clubs & ActivitiesSport

A monthly column from Alfie Howlett

There is arguably no greater time in football than the festive period. An integral part of our calendar which stretches as far back as 150 years. This season it'll see Swindon tackle three games in the space of a week. A hectic schedule of festive fun can see teams fall down the standings or establish day light at the top of the table.

Swindon will be hoping to send out a real message to their competitors this month. And all players will be called upon. With the tight turnaround of fixtures, a strong squad can give you a massive edge at this time of year. If you have the luxury of being able to rotate the starting eleven that extra bit of freshness can provide the advantage in games where fitness levels can be low.

Despite having just seven players at the beginning of pre-season the Swindon squad looks strong. With the only area of concern being defensively. In a system in which Town play so well having three centre halves is vital. And with Mathieu Baudry and Romoney Crichlow both picking up knocks along with the injury-prone skipper Dion Conroy, Swindon could find themselves with a patched-up defence in some matches. Despite this, Town have an abundance of midfielders and wingers in the squad which will provide energy over Christmas.

I remember saying at the start of the season that it'll be a case of making it through to the January transfer window and then getting players in for the season. However this Swindon team has surpassed all expectations and now it's more the case of seeing whether there are one or two quality signings to add to the squad. I feel as if all we require is a centre back to cover in the event of an injury, a natural left back and a striker to push Tyreece Simpson. The signing of experienced EFL goal getter Paul Benson in January 2012 transferred a very good Swindon side into a title winning team. If the Robins were to find a player of that calibre then I believe they will have the nucleus of a promotion winning team.

Although I believe another striker is required, the current number 9 Tyreece Simpson is having a fine season in what is his first full campaign as a professional footballer. The 19-year-old has taken some unfair criticism at times this season for not being the most clinical of players. However it's easy to forget that the Ipswich loanee is very much learning his trade at SN1. I'll always be impressed with his 100% work ethic and the amount of work he does off the ball for the side. Qualities which will see him forge a successful career at this level.

December will be a challenge for all but it'll also mark the end of 2021 - a year in which the Lee Power regime almost killed the club. But then another chapter of the club's 142 year history began. What will the 143rd bring?

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