With two defeats from their opening nine, Ben Garner’s new-look Swindon Town side have turned a corner from the turmoil that engulfed them last season. Failing to set the league alight so far, it seems the defensive solidity embraced by players at The County Ground is the way forward for The Robins. Slow and steady, it stands Swindon in eighth so far.
A vocal believer in this defence first approach is young Swindon defender Akin Odimayo, a key part of Swindon’s defence so far this season. Speaking with the club’s media, Odimayo stressed the importance of defending well in order to give his side a platform to succeed: “Getting clean sheets sets the platform for us. We tried to create chances and score in the game [against Colchester] but it just wasn’t our day. From the back, though, if we are doing our job and keep a clean sheet then it gives the team the best possible opportunity to win the game.”
Swindon’s strong defensive game has certainly benefited them so far, with summer signing Jojo Wollacott gaining international recognition with a Ghana call-up a few days ago. Leaving Bristol City behind in the summer, Wollacott’s move has been more than justified with only seven goals shipped with their new star-man in net.
Odimayo recognised the integral role the new Town keeper has made to the team’s solid start: “The priority for us at the back, and for Jojo [Wollacott] as well, is to keep clean sheets and just be consistent with it.”
Even with the harmony returning to The County Ground, wins have been hard to come by. With a style of football that the players have taken to with open arms, it might take some time before we see Swindon at their best with Town winless in their last four even with three draws along the way.
Yet, with the cloud of the club going under a distant memory, Odimayo’s positivity remains: “Playing out from the back and building from the back allows us to control the game, so it suits me and it has been really good. We impose our style of play in every game and we just need to build on it.”
It remains to be seen whether this cautious approach adopted by Ben Garner has longevity, but after coming into such a fractured club, it has at least generated some well-needed positivity to the place.
Reading over Odimayo’s comments to the club’s media, it is clear to see a squad of players all wanting to work hard to make sure Ben Garner’s tenure is one to remember. With two defeats so far, there’s a lot to work on for Swindon. It’s all about being able to work a goalless affair into a win for the ex Bristol Rovers boss, with 18 shots on goal against Colchester last time out but a draw the outcome.
Continue with what they’re doing, and get the Swindon attackers firing, we could see a play-off push occur this season.