Thursday, 19 September 2013
The Inside Line: Swindon Town (21/09/2013)
Aside from a postponed first round League Cup tie (which we lost, of course) two years ago, this weekend sees the return of a much-anticipated Westcountry derby after a six-and-a-half year absence. Let's hope this long-awaited Derby return has a similar result to the last one, albeit without the pitch invasion this time around!
Very kindly, top Swindon blogger Ron Smith, of The Washbag has offered his thoughts to Stu Radnedge on the other 'Robins' ahead of Saturday's clash.
Saturday's match marks the battle of the Robins and the only 'local' derby City have to enjoy in this division. Do you perceive there to be a bitter feud between the teams or are we more like friendly foes?
"It's the only local derby we've got to enjoy in League One also. There is a rivalry, however it has fluctuated over the years and is somewhat a distraction from our true foes."
Seeing as we're nearing the end of September, how do you feel your start to the 2013/14 campaign has transpired?
"Very promising. We expected the worst but some of the quality of football has just been a joy to watch. Seriously City fans, come to the County Ground this Saturday and be entertained with some astonishingly creative possession with an attacking spark."
There's no way I can ask you a set of questions without mentioning your former, former, manager. What type of effect did Paulo Di Canio have on the club and, more importantly, is it still being felt?
"Swindon was Di Canio during the time of his reign. He brought great success and passion to the job, yet he never left any legacy. In truth Di Canio was never going to provide any building blocks for his successor as he always told his players that "they were nothing without him". His sheer disregard for the youth setup has set us back a year or two in player development, which is a priority for the club to put right."
Are there any fears that Saturday could see your players already starting to focus on the televised glamour Carling One Cup tie against Chelsea?
"No. They are all playing for places against Chelsea so no professional would let down their guard for a crucial League game."
Swindon lost in the play-off semi-finals to Brentford last season, ending dreams of promotion. Are you glad you didn't make it up another league or do you feel the team would have survived?
"I thought it would've been a step too far for promotion last season, however given how well the chairman & co. have transformed the club and secured quality players, actually...had we secured promotion we probably would've survived."
Following the departure mid-way through the summer of manager Kevin MacDonald, did you see the gaffer leaving as a major stumbling block? And how do you feel new man (and ex-Bristol City youth player) Mark Cooper is coping?
"Yes MacDonald's departure was a shock and could have set us back months, however Cooper's appointment was the sensible choice and he's certainly proving he deserves the two year contract he was awarded."
Who is the player most likely to cause City problems on Saturday?
"Fortunately for you Alex Pritchard is suspended, however there are plenty of others. Yaser Kasim will sit deep and dictate the tempo of the game. Ryan Mason will pop up in all sorts of attacking positions and isn't afraid to shoot. Nile Ranger is out to give Aden Flint a black eye..."
Can I have a score prediction please?
"Home win, of course. All my predictions start with a 2 and end with a 1"
Many thanks to both Ron and Stu for their contributions. Let's hope the 2,500 strong travelling army enjoy their day out and City can finally, finally record that first league win - and perhaps even a clean sheet for good measure!
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