Are Swindon actually stronger to push for promotion in 2013/14?

There have been plenty of comings and goings at Swindon Town over the course of the 2013 summer transfer window, but do you think that Town are actually in a stronger position to compete for promotion? Ron Smith asks.

To be honest my expectations for 2013/14 dramatically reduced many months ago, about the time Andrew Black withdrew his funds and Paolo walked away.The takeover and initial haphazard approach of Jed McCrory’s board served to compound those early fears. Sustainability and reducing budgets is fine, but what sort of impact would this have on results. If we needed a budget of £4m plus for the past few years and couldn’t get into the Championship, then how can cuts and promotion actually come in tandem?

Only a few weeks ago, podcast listeners will know, I expressed comfort with a low mid-table finish and building for the future; others even concluded a 20th place finish and avoiding relegation on the final day could constitute success. However, so much has changed the space of a week.

Performances against Gillingham (to some extent), QPR and then Crewe proved an effective style of football was working earlier in the season than I would’ve expected. The players have, match-on-match, noticeably improved, performing their roles with increased awareness of their teammates and how they are expected to work within Mark Cooper’s 4-3-3* / 4-2-3-1* / 4-5-1* [delete as appropriate].

Then there was the permanent signing of Massimo Luongo on Sunday. When the news broke on Saturday at the end of half time on Twitter I nearly missed the third goal. I realise ‘Mass’ isn’t a net gain as he was due to stay with Town until May, yet his capture is a real sign of intent. £400,000 is a lot of money, but what a bargain! Add to Massimo the signing of Nile Ranger, Nicky Ajose and Dany N’Guessan then Town have now attacking options yielding a threat unlike what we’ve seen recently with the dull duo of Andy Williams and James Collins. I haven’t even mentoned the performances of Yaser Kasim…amazing.

Am I now getting carried away? Perhaps. We’ve only set foot into September and our potential is being revised upwards. However, that doesn’t mean to say expectations are being similarly raised, yet.

For our podcast recording on Sunday I’m keen to sense your views on whether Swindon are actually now stronger to push for promotion to the Championship in 2013/14 compared to previous seasons.

Have your expectations risen over recent weeks and have any of the transfer window signings or performances changed your views on our chances of success, even your opinion on Mark Cooper?

Tell us what you think in the comment box below. The best responses will be discussed on our podcast, available to download on Sunday evening.

8 comments

  • As a terminal optimist, since 1963 my expectations have always been high for Swindon, or should I say my hopes – although they were shaken during the Dave Mackay, Steve Mcmahon and later revolving door manager days.

    So even when PdeC left I remained hopeful we could somehow slip through to the Championship – but fortunatley we didn’t, because with the previous team I suspect we’d have crashed right back down.

    With the indecision about managers, the wholesale loss of almost all the team and the lack of clear communication my confidence wavered – quite a bit – but to be honest that glimmer of hope was always there.

    The past two weeks has fanned fle glimmer into a roaring flame – great performances, a famous win over QPR, a young, fit and committed team, a manager and chairman demanding good football and a brilliantly handled deadline day.

    What’s not to love? Optimistic – I’m raving. Bert’s babes revisited 50 years later. I hope.

    And (living in Oz) I get to see the lads on tv twice in September.

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  • Last season the team could have achieved promotion it came very close. It took a while for that team to gel and at times particularly at home found it difficult to break down visiting defences. Despite early reservations the 2013 crop are starting to look the real deal with strength in depth. Overal Swindon look a better balanced team than last year, the board and Mark Cooper are exceeding my expectations. The only area where I have slight misgivings is the height of a defender like Flint and some of our goals against have been conceded in those areas. Having said that I now feel confident that in Mark Cooper, we have a manager who is really getting to grips with producing football which could take the club to the next level. It’s early days, September will show how far we have come as we meet teams who on paper will challenge for promotion.

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  • I had been thinking we’d end up mid-table but having seen Town against Crewe, I see no real reason why top eight isn’t achieveable. The squad seems balanced enough – although not Di Canio deep – injuries to Kasim, Ranger or Ward/Hall would be tricky to handle but the new boys seem promising on paper and Aljose looked very alert in his cameo on Saturday…

    The football is fantastic to watch too. Or am I still riding the wave of two good results – one of which I didn’t see?

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  • Good report
    As always i want the team to do well however as Summer comes to an end, September sees some diffcult games MK Dons, Wolves away, Local Derby against Bristol City, Preston away therefore if we overall have come through these fixtures with X number of points we will know were the team are

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  • Be very interesting to see how things look after next 5 games. Don’t think anyone would have called Williams and Collins a dull duo this time last year. With Collins hat trick at Stoke and Williams looking really lively if not getting among the goals as hoped. Agree Ajose looked promising and Ranger although clearly not fully fit has looked classy but neither Ajose , El Gabas or N’Guessan have particularly good goal scoring records. Luongo we know can score and if Mason and Pritchard can keep going in current vein then along with Harley I’m sure more goals will be coming from midfield but still wonder a bit about whether he have the players to finish off the pretty patterns. We shall see but as ever with stfc plenty to mull over.

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  • Like most Swindon fans (and the author of the article), my expectations have been revised upwards since the start of the season – despite not being in the leading pack at the present time. On paper, I think we should challenge. And the signing of Luongo, in particular, excites me.

    But to what extent are we confusing hope with expectation? One pointer, perhaps, would be the musings of the more savvy fans of opposing clubs around the division. Is there any evidence that STFC’s chances are now being talked up outside of the Swindon area? I have not seen anything yet along these lines, but neither have I looked for it.

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  • Stronger squad than last season, in my opinion. Though Paolo brought in a lot of players as backup, some of them were very weak (Roberts, Navarro, the Rooneys, to name a few). The key will be whether we can strengthen in the loan market when we need to. Oh, and Nile’s court case.

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  • Well I think we could be the surprise team this season and have put my money where my mouth is. With odds at 40:1, 33:1, and 2 at 25:1 my few quid might with any luck get next next years season ticket.

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