A very busy January at SN1

transfer-deadline 3

Scot Munroe gives his summary of the transfer window so far and what might be in store for Town fans.

We are just over three weeks into the new year and the January transfer window, there has been no surprise that we’ve witnessed new signings and deadwood departing.

On the way out of the County Ground we have seen Michael Timlin leave for Southend after a successful loan spell for an undisclosed fee. Striker Elliot Benyon has also joined Southend for an undisclosed fee after spending the first half of the season in an injury hit and goalless spell at relegation threatened Wycombe.

Also out was Leon Clarke. After his ninety day loan spell at Chesterfield – where he found himself scoring goals after he spectacularly fell out with Paolo Di Canio – joined Charlton Athletic in a swap deal with Paul Benson coming the other way.

Add to those three, Italian defender Alberto Comazzi, who left the club to return home after both parties mutually agreed to cancel his contract. If only Mattia Lanzano followed suit…

It won’t stop there. We can expect more players to depart as Paolo Di Canio recently confirmed the club had some offers from clubs in League One.

So that will include Mehdi Kerrouche, who looks certain to be leaving the club in the next ten days or so, following his falling out with Di Canio leaving the Algerian sidelined and training on his own since the 10th December away at Bristol Rovers. It also wouldn’t surprise if we found out that Lukas Magera and Etienne Esajas have been told that they can find new clubs; with League One a level that both could perform at.

After the Rotherham game it was reported that Ipswich was interested in two Swindon players which were the captain Paul Caddis and winger Matt Ritchie. This was swiftly rejected by chairman Jeremy Wray and Ipswich forced to turn their attention away from the County Ground. This wasn’t the first time that Matt Ritchie’s performances acquired attention, with Bournemouth unsuccessfully chucking bids to bring the former Pompey man back to the south coast. Whether Ritchie will leave in the summer – as Di Canio suggested he may allow – will eventually depend on League One football for us next season.

The players into the club have been real quality signings by the manager. Paolo Di Canio is certainly making amends for the players he bought in the summer transfer window with a significant change in transfer strategy.

Wes Foderingham made his transfer permanent after a successful loan spell from Crystal Palace. The young goalkeeper has made a real impact with some brilliant displays in between the sticks, cleansheets and, for once, confidence that our goalkeeping problems may just be over.

Paul Benson who was set to join on the last day of the loan transfer window, however that was vetoed by the FA as the paper work arrived pass the 5pm transfer deadline. Benson is the type of striker that Swindon has been wanted all season a fox in a box and a player and knows where the back of the net is.

Last Tuesday, Town signed Gillingham’s Luke Rooney with the winger signing a two and a half year deal, joining for a six figure sum. A superb debut against Macclesfield, including an assist, showed glimpses of an exciting future.

A player that returned to the club was Billy Bodin after the player had a very successful loan spell at Torquay. Back into the starting XI at Rotherham, it seems that Di Canio really likes Billy Bodin and the player definitely has a future at the club.

In the past two weeks Swindon has made three bids for Oxford striker James Constable. On the Thursday before the Rotherham game it was reported that Swindon’s bid was rejected. Then a second bid was made and Constable was reported to have asked for a move to Swindon, yet the bid was rejected and any suggestion of a transfer request turned out to be false.

A week later, Town’s third bid was surprisingly accepted by the Oxford board. However, Constable stated he was happy to stay put, this despite vile messages via Twitter from the Yellow and Blue, who then changed their tune and applauded him on his desire to stay. In the end Di Canio said he didn’t want Constable if he wasn’t committed to play for him and make that decision quickly.

Two loan signings have joined. Ronan Murray has returned to the club on a second loan spell from Ipswich. Last week, Di Canio finally secured the signing of Arsenal reserve captain Daniel Boateng. Boateng nearly joined the club in the summer but the move broke down and with this signing it adds more back up to the defence. Both deals run until the end of the season.

With just over a week remaining of the transfer window there one thing for certain… Di Canio will be after another striker.

With Town in negotiations during the last few days, it seems the player wants to come but this time it appears his club are in two minds whether they’ll let him leave.

Could it be Rotherham striker Lewis Grabban? Who had interested the Swindon boss and there were rumours flying around on Twitter that the club had already offered a six figure bid in for the player of around £200k.

Money seems to be no object as Swindon are willing to pay the big bucks to make amends for the Summer transfer dealings; buying the quality young British players Paolo now wants to get out of this division.

With a central midfielder and potentially more defensive cover to arrive, the remaining seven days of the transfer window will be frenetic as Town look to build the squad we should have had in August.

Southend & Colchester: Essex Cup dates for Swindon

welcome-to-essex

On Saturday morning live on Soccer AM, Swindon Town found out who would be their opponents in the JPT Area Semi Final.

It will be an away trip to Paul Sturrock’s Southend United in early December for the Robins.

I let out a cry of “No!” when the draw was made. Surely this is the worst possible draw for us in the Semi Final…

Swindon and Southend have met at the same stage of the competition back in the 04-05 season under Andy King and on that occasion Town came away from Roots Hall very disappointed after a 2-0 defeat. Hopefully on loan midfielder Michael Timlin will be unavailable to play for the Essex based club against us.

With Tuesday performance against AFC Wimbledon it clearly shows that Paolo Di Canio is taking this tournament really seriously and a Wembley date next year could be on the horizon.

On Saturday afternoon Swindon entertained Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup 1st Round.

It was great to watch Swindon dismantle a high flying and unbeaten Huddersfield 4-1, in a game that was was televised on Setanta Ireland, and Fox Sports in the US and Australia.

The draw for the 2nd Round was made on Sunday afternoon. Again, like the JPT draw, there was another load “No!” heard as ball number 6 – Swindon – were  drawn away at Colchester United. After the (relative) glamour tie of Huddersfield, Swindon now have a bit of the gloom tie away at Colchester United.

With this game the Robins will came up against former player Michael Rose who couldn’t wait to jump ship to Essex in the summer. Swindon have the capacity and the quality to get a result in the 2nd Round and the dream of a real glamour tie in Round three. You never know…a return to Upton Park for Di Canio…?

Interestingly, Swindon Town have never played Colchester United in the FA Cup, however Swindon Supermarine did face the ‘U’s’ in the 2nd Round last season.

The FA Cup 2nd Round tie will be played weekend commencing the 3rd December. The JPT Area Semi final tie will be played just days later in the week commencing the 5th December.

Another busy week of cup football awaits.

Accrington 0 Swindon 2: Travel Sickness stemmed for now

Scot Munroe ventured north on Saturday hoping to be rewarded with a Swindon victory over Accrington Stanley.

A long journey which paid off as we witnessed a Swindon away win, which as we know has been few and far between this season in League Two.

What we witnessed was a very astute, comfortable and professional performance. This was all against one of the division’s typical physical and strong sides, and away from home. Many including myself hadn’t been expecting such a fantastic result. Continue Reading

Swindon v Oxford: The A420 derby is upon us

This lunchtime the A420 derby returns in all of it’s glory as bitter rivals Swindon Town face Oxford United at the County Ground. A match even more special as this is the first league game between the sides for over ten years. It was back in the 2000/01 season when Swindon were victorious thanks to a double salvo from an unlikely source of Steve ‘Turbo’ Robinson. At the end of that season Swindon amazingly survived relegation by the skin of their teeth, but laughing all through the summer as United finished bottom some 25 points behind a poor Town side, soon on their way to non-league obscurity.Continue Reading

Swindon 3-0 Crewe: A tale of two halves

Scot Munroe reports on the opening League Two encounter at the County Ground as Town finish 3-0 winners over Crewe Alexandra.

It could’ve been a different story at the County ground this afternoon as visitors Crewe Alexandra completely dominated the first half. An earlier nervous and edgy Swindon later rallied to take the spoils with a dominating display in the last quarter providing Paolo Di Canio with his maiden victory.

Continue Reading