A 2-1 defeat to a second-string Charlton was a source of disappointment for Paul Tisdale especially as City looked on course to record a third successive first round win over higher division opposition, but there’s no use crying over spilt milk as City face the first of three closely bunched away trips with a visit to a side looking to bounce back after relegation. Tisdale made a few changes to his line up for the Carabao Cup match with Troy Archibald-Henville (remember him?) making a welcome start. Jordan Moore-Taylor and Craig Woodman are likely to return for Archibald-Henville and Croll, while Dean Moxey is edging ever closer to a first start since his return to his first club. Lee Holmes impressed and he will provide Tisdale with a selection headache as last season’s top scorer David Wheeler made way and will be itching to return.
After a season of turmoil that culminated in relegation, Swindon will have been installed amongst the favourites to return to the third tier, with the appointment of David Flitcroft as manager seen as an attempt to build stability. Early signs are encouraging as the Wiltshire side won 2-1 at City’s playoff foes Carlisle on the opening day before a narrow 3-2 defeat away to Norwich in the Carabao Cup. Flitcroft’s squad appears to be on the small side, and he named just four substitutes at Norwich, so it remains to be seen on Saturday whether this was tactical or whether Flitcroft really is down to the bare bones. One familiar face is expected to line up against his former club, combative midfielder James Dunne having made the move from Cambridge during the summer. Paul Mullin, late of Morecambe, has proved an instant hit in his new surroundings with a goal in both matches so the home fans will be expecting him to repeat this form on his home debut.
The sides have met in each of the last two seasons, last season in the Checkatrade Trophy group stages where a 1-1 draw (Norris, Wheeler) meant penalties, which were won 4-2 by Swindon. The previous season it was altogether more meaningful as City travelled to the County Ground and won 2-1 against their more fancied opponent to book a trip to Sunderland. Alex Nicholls and Wheeler put City 2-0 up at half time before Jonathan Obika (now with deadly rivals Oxford) reduced the arrears in the second half. The last time the sides met in the league was in the 2010/11 season. The corresponding fixture won’t live long in the memory as it finished 0-0, while a twice rescheduled home match saw City beat Swindon 1-0 through Ryan Harley’s penalty. The league head to head is heavily in Swindon’s favour with 36 wins to City’s 22 (24 draws).
The match officials for this game are:-
Referee: Scott Oldham
Assistant Referees: Craig Taylor and Michael Webb
Fourth Official: Rob Smith
Scott is based on the Fylde Coast and refereed at the National League last season, and after one season has been promoted to the Football League.