Writer: Rich Towey
Date:Friday December 17 2010
The County Ground
Tranmere face the Robins in their first of five games in a 17 day period.
Swindon Town manager Danny Wilson told BBC Wiltshire:
"I think two good wins in the next two games, and it's very, very possible, can lift us into a very healthy position.
"We still owe the fans from the last match we had here (FA Cup defeat to Crawley Town) which is still very fresh in my mind and I'm sure it's still fresh in the player's minds."
"We need to put a run together that will have people looking over their shoulders at us and I genuinely believe it will happen."
Tranmere manager Les Parry told BBC Radio Merseyside:
"Swindon will be up for it and it hasn't been a happy hunting ground for us over the years, so we'll be looking to turn that around.
"It's no coincidence that in the three games we've lost we've been without Joss Labadie and Marlon Broomes.
"They're two pivotal players for us. It's not just in their play but their presence as well, so to get those two back is a massive boost.'
Last seasons play-off final looks a million miles away as Danny Wilson's new look Swindon side find themselves near Tranmere at 17th place. A win against Sheffield Wednesday masked the disappointment of a previous loss at Notts County, but that level of inconsistency is what's seen last years surprise package plummet down to the bottom half of the table.
Although the win against Wednesday was their last league game, a home loss against Crawley came earlier this week. Charlie Austin is still scoring at will, but as has been proved, sometimes his goals aren't enough.
Town manager will be without Jonathan Douglas who picked up a straight red in his sides FA cup loss at home to Crawley on Tuesday, whereas Paul Caddis is a doubt due to illness. Not short on numbers however, Michael Timlin and Simon Ferry will both be looking to replace Douglas in midfield.
The departure of last years strike partner Billy Painter as well as Danny Ward's return to Bolton has seen the pressure for goals very much put on the shoulders of Austin. Fortunately for Wilson, the former bricklayer has dealt with it surprisingly well.
Despite missing the first five games of the season, Austin picked himself up to fire in 14 by the start of December. A new 'little and large' strike partnership with target-man Vincent Pericard looks to be working up front, with a leaky defence and poor discipline costing the side elsewhere.
But don't just let the stats do the talking, let a manager do it. Parry had scouts at the County ground for the Robins last game which saw Austin grab a goal, and the manager commented on Austin's form in an interview with Tranmere's site earlier this week: "He scored a very similar goal to the one scored against us the other night. He's a massive threat to us and when players are scoring on a regular basis their confidence is up and they become an extra threat."
Tuesday's cup loss at home to Huddersfield gave Rovers their third defeat in a row Prenton Park, so Parry will be looking towards his sides away performances to get them out of the rut.
To aid him in the Christmas period Parry virtually has a fully fit squad to chose from. Ian Thomas-Moore missed out against Huddersfield but looks to be available for Saturday. Marlon Broomes, Tim Cathalina and Sam Morrow are also thought to make the squad after coming through a reserve game on Monday unscathed, with Enoch Showunmi looking to put any injury worries behind him after playing 90 minutes against Huddersfield.
Parry will also be thankful to be able to call on the services of Joss Labadie who has now served all of his three-match ban.
Tuesday's game saw Ash Taylor make his first start of the season in midfield, but Labadies return will give Parry some welcomed selection dilemma's in the middle. With defenders returning from injury there is also decisions as to who starts at the back, with Scott Wootton, Broomes, Taylor and Jermaine Grandison all thought to be fighting for a place alongside Ian Goodison at centre-half.
Tuesday marked Taylor's first start back after injury ruled him out of the first four months of the current campaign, with the round of applause lasting longer than usual. A regular in the side last season following the appointment of Parry, last seasons solid performances even saw the local boy selected for the Wales U21 squad. Now fully fit and out of his teen years, the 20 year old now finds himself fighting for his place back in defence- with the competition bigger than ever.
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Date:Friday December 17 2010
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