John Sheridan has been in the hot seat for Swindon Town for a little over two weeks now and the size of the task ahead of him is beginning to take shape. In that time, they’ve recorded a mixed bag of results, with two wins, two losses and a draw under his belt.
Though that run is a significant improvement on Swindon’s early season form, Sheridan will be conscious that his team are still only six points clear of the relegation zone. As such, it’s likely he’ll push for some new faces in the squad come January, to ensure that he and his team can stop looking over their shoulder and instead set their sights on the other end of the table.
While money is likely to be at a premium, Sheridan will be hopeful he can convince the club’s owners to roll the dice come January. Much like visitors to Casino 777, who can take advantage of attractive sign-up offers to try their luck at popular games like blackjack, poker or roulette, Sheridan and company will be hoping that their gamble pays off in the long run. But where does his team need strengthening the most?
In the sticks
Having conceded 26 goals in the league at the time of writing, Swindon have the leakiest defence in the league bar 22nd-placed Burton Albion. Part of the blame for that abysmal statistic must fall on the shoulders of the club’s goalkeepers, all three of whom are 25 years of age or under. Indeed, 20-year-old Czech keeper Matej Kovár has started the majority of league matches this season and it could be a lack of experience that is costing Swindon dearly.
With that in mind, it’s hardly surprising that the club have been linked with a more experienced pair of gloves in the transfer market. Veteran Lee Camp had been tipped to sign for the club, but ended up joining Coventry City on a two-month contract earlier this month. Instead, it’s believed the club may turn their attention to his namesake Lee Camp, who was last seen plying his trade north of the border for Dunfermline Athletic.
Centre of the park
Another area where Swindon are light for bodies is central midfield. The loss of Michael Doughty, who helped Swindon claim the League Two title last season and was voted the Swindon Advertiser Player of the Year the season before, has stung the team badly. Matt Smith moved to Wigan Athletic on loan on deadline day, while the Australian Jordan Lyden has missed all of the season so far through injury.
With the club feeling the bite from coronavirus, funds for a new midfielder’s transfer fee are unlikely to be forthcoming. Therefore, the best bet of shoring up the midfield could be either in the form of a loan or snapping up a free agent. With regard to that latter idea, names such as Kevin Stewart, Darren Potter, Luke Hyam and Hope Akpan are all currently unattached and could provide support – although Sheridan would not need to wait until January to sign a free agent, if he was that way inclined.
Returning from injury
It should also be remembered that Swindon’s lengthy injury list is slowly but surely shortening. The aforementioned Jordan Lyden, who has yet to play a single minute this season after starting 21 games last year, could be available for selection as early as next week. Meanwhile, club captain Dion Conroy was initially feared to have suffered a second serious knee injury in three years, but it now appears that Conroy will not miss the entire season as previously anticipated.
His fellow centre back Zeki Fryers has also recently returned from a lengthy lay-off, starting the last four games and bringing some much-needed steel to the backline. At the other end of the pitch, Tyler Smith and Diallang Jaiyesimi have both come back in recent weeks, producing five goals between them. While it’s certainly a cliché in football, the restoration of such a large number of important team players to the starting XI is almost like several new signings at once.