Saturday, June 04, 2011

Jigsaw Is Yet To Be Completed

Since the arrival of Paolo Di Canio we have seen many leave the exit door at SN1. Full-back Michael Rose was first to leave, signing for Colchester United. Last week, David Prutton moved up north to Sheffield Wednesday. And this week defenders, Alan Sheehan and Scott Cuthbert signed for Notts County and Leyton Orient respectively.

With theses departures in mind, Swindon need to strengthen in the right areas if we to return to League One at the first time of asking. Expectations for this season are high, with supporters hoping the club bounces back from the disastrous past season.

So, where should these signings be made?

Goalkeeper: This is one area where the team has adequate quality. David Lucas struggled with injuries and lack of form last season. However, he is a very good keeper and providing he stays fit, I would be happy to see him between the sticks next season. Phil Smith was error-prone last season, although he is a more than capable understudy.

Right Back: Kevin Amankwaah is very much like David Lucas, superb in our play-off season but struggled with fitness and form the previous campaign. Amankwaah is a great asset, providing he can find form once more. Nathan Thompson is a excellent prospect and always impressed in the minimal opportunites given last season. I am sure the youngster will offer fine competition.

Left Back: With the exits of Michael Rose and Alan Sheehan, this is an area we do need to strengthen. Callum Kennedy is the only senior left back in the squad who I am sure could do a solid job in the position. However, he stills falls in the 'maybe' category on making the grade at Swindon. There is also no harm in giving a player competition.

Centre Back: Signing an experienced central defender has to be absoulute priority in the transfer market. There is no subsitute for experience in football and there was no coincidence we struggled without Gordon Greer. We need that leader that can marshall the troops when the chips are down. Swindon have two talented defenders in Aden Flint and Jean Lescinal Francois; however the same was said about Cuthbert and Sean Morrison a year ago and we all know how last season faired.

Right Midfield: Paul Caddis excelled when moved into the right wing role and I certainly see no reason why the Scot won't be able to impress in League Two next season. Jon-Paul McGovern is rumoured to be joining ex-Town boss Danny Wilson at Sheffield United. Like many of his team-mates he had a fine 2009-10 season but was poor last season. Considering that I am confident he is someone we could easily replace.

Left Midfield: Providing we keep hold of Matt Ritchie, this is probably our strongest position. The former Pompey man was superb last season, chipping in with seven goals. Determination and passion are two things I love in a player and Ritchie has this in abundance. Timlim can adapt to left midfield, although a left-sided player who can also play at full-back would be a welcome addition.

Will he stay?
Central Midfield: David Prutton has already departed SN1 and should Jonathan Douglas' contract not be extended, we will be lacking numbers in this position. I am a big Jonathan Douglas fan and hope he remains at the County Ground. He had a formidable partnership with Simon Ferry during our play-off season and would love to see that renewed. Michael Timlim is a industrious midfielder which is a great asset to have in this league. The future of Douglas is the key factor is deciding if signing a central midfielder is required.

Attack: This is another key area that needs addressing sooner rather than later. Since the exit of Burnley man Charlie Austin, the team has struggled for goals. Elliott Benyon proved at Torquay, he is a poacher in this division. However, we do need to concede, to get the best out of Benyon he will need a strong, physical partner in the Rory Fallon mould. Billy Bodin and Jordan Pavett have never scored a professional goal; Swindon can certainly not afford to lay our hopes on two unproven players.

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