Cautious optimism beginning to build at SN1

By Alfie Howlett - 1 December 2022

Clubs & ActivitiesSport

A column from Swindon Link's STFC correspondent Alfie Howlett.

To most people the month of December brings Christmas shopping, mince pies and appalling television.

But for the football fan it provides one of the game's greatest spectacles - the festive football period.

While the majority of Europe will fall silent, the English game will continue its 134 year love affair with Christmas and football.

This season's schedule will witness Swindon play three times in the space of seven days, starting at home to Walsall on Boxing Day and ending away to Colchester on New Year's Day. No matter what the outcome it will arguably be the most wonderful time of the year.

Since I last wrote it feels as if very little has changed. Swindon are steadily picking up points and remaining ever present in the top half of the table. The only outlier would be Town's outstanding victory at Mansfield in late October.

The 5-2 victory opened up far more questions than answers. You ask yourself does such a performance warrant Swindon as serious promotion contenders? It was only the second time that the Stags had lost a home league game in 13 months, and the first time in six years they had conceded five at home in the league.

Surely this result meant that Swindon had to be taken seriously. But then on the other hand you could argue that Town's opponents were reduced to 10 men, therefore taking the gloss out of the scoreline.

Any optimism which had been built was quickly dashed a week later, as Town were thrashed 4-0 by Stockport in the FA Cup. It was a result which handed the Robins a stern reality check. Perhaps the victory over Mansfield was a fluke, a one off, a flash in the pan, or perhaps it was the start of something. Only the remainder of the season will tell but it's a reminder of something which most Town fans will approach with cautious optimism.

As the season develops it's pleasing to see some of Town's summer acquisitions return the investment. One name which springs to mind is Remeao Hutton.

The 24-year-old, who joined from Barrow, has caught the eye with his rampaging runs down the right wing. In addition the majority of his runs accumulate into good chances with his crossing ability. So far, at the time of writing, he has three assists to his name.

The full back, who earned the club's October player of the month award, has developed into one of the first names on the team sheet. In my opinion the full back is one of our most pivotal attacking threats. Another name would be that of Saidou Khan.

The midfielder, who arrived from Chesterfield, has performed so well he has kept Louis Reed out of the team. The Gambian has shone with his tough tackling and impressive dribbling. It's fair to say that he has provided the back bone of the midfield.

2022 has been a year of highs and lows but for Swindon a good festive period could see it end on a high.

Despite the performances the results have been satisfactory. Let's see what 2023 has to offer!

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