It's a marathon, not a sprint for STFC

By Alfie Howlett - 24 August 2022


A monthly column from STFC correspondent Alfie Howlett.

The key to the ignition of the new season may well have been turned but Swindon are yet to click into gear.

In the earliest ever start to a football season it's been a slow start. three games, no wins.

It's worth mentioning that league titles have never been awarded in August - the hare and the tortoise. In Swindon's case they'll be hoping they're the tortoise. But where is it going wrong for Scott Lindsey's side?

The game is simple, goals win games. But for Swindon the goals just aren't there. If Harry McKirdy isn't on song you really do ask where the goals are coming from.

So far, the most likely source appears to be Jacob Wakeling. The 20-year-old joined Town this summer from Leicester City.

After spending a short period on loan with Barrow last season Wakeling has already impressed me. Not only has he looked the brightest in a Town shirt but his work ethic is impeccable.

As well as that, his intelligence is admirable for a player of his age. I can already see comparisons to former Swindon striker Jerry Yates. Nonetheless if you have ambitious of promotion it's a lofty ask for a 20-year-old to be the main man.

The other critical issue is the lack of creativity. Last season Jack Payne was the go-to guy for unlocking the opposition. This season, in his absence, Town lack that spark.

In addition, with Harry McKirdy now playing further forward Swindon lack someone to run at a back line. When playing three at the back it is obvious that the extra defender restricts the team going forward and that the wing backs just don't offer enough going forward. One player who I feel could fill the creativity void is Ronan Darcy.

The midfielder arrived from Bolton this summer. Having featured for The Trotters in League 1 Darcy has pedigree behind him. When I've seen the youngster I've been impressed with his passing as well his footwork. I believe that if utilised correctly Darcy could provide the missing link from midfield to attack.

I felt before the season started that Swindon would finish mid table, and looking at the transfer business, it appears the club mirror that ambition. The majority of incomings have been investments for the future based off the club's new data driven recruitment.

However you can't help feeling underwhelmed. Understandably Town have been tight with the pennies yet this window feels worse than last season where we were under an embargo. In addition this season's start is a complete contrast to last.

Despite having a full pre-season and early signings the start does not reflect last season's having had a week's pre-season. There certainly is a concern that by aiming for mediocrity Town leave themselves little margin to fail.

Now is certainly not the time to panic. There have been many teams who have started slowly but ended the season quickly. In fact one of those was once Swindon.

They had a poor start under Paulo Di Canio only to win League 2. But unfortunately in my eyes Scott Lindsey will be no Paulo Di Canio.

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