FLW caught up with Swindon Town fan Dave Smith, who gave us his thoughts on the upcoming League 1 season for The Robins.
What are your expectations for this season? Uncertain; at the end of last season, when most other clubs are sorting out contracts and lining-up signings for next season, STFC were embroiled in a court case to decide ownership of the club. Naturally this dragged-on for weeks and seriously interfered with pre-season preparations (typical Swindon of course). The result has been a lack of signings (so far) and an undersized, inexperienced squad, bolstered by youth team players. We have retained the nucleus of last season’s fairly successful team so, if we can sign 2-3 more half decent players, we might do okay. With an average age of 21-22 the squad is inexperienced, with fans’ opinions split between optimism and, oh no, a relegation season looming! So, my expectations are somewhere in between… edging towards the optimistic view I think. I’d be happy with a top 10 finish, while making the play-offs would be the icing on the cake! What do you think of your summer business so far? Frustrating due to the delays in being able to bring players in. We have signed midfielder Anton Rodgers (son of Liverpool manager Brendan) who was released by Oldham, and Josh Leland – a young central defender on loan from Derby. Swindon are also trying to bring another centre back in on a season-long loan from Southampton – Jack Stephens, who had a very successful spell here last season and looks an excellent prospect. Rumour has it we are also trying for Brad Smith, a young fullback from Liverpool… the hope is that we’ve done Brendan a favour by signing his son, so he will play ball. If we manage to sign those three, then things will be looking a lot better, with the hope being that they make as much of an impact as the loan signings from Spurs last season. Who will be your star player this year?
Probably Massimo Luongo, a talented midfielder we bought from Spurs a year ago. He went to the World Cup with Australia, although didn’t get a game. He had a great season last time; influential in the middle of the park, involved in most of the good things the team created, and chipping in with a few goals as well. Big things expected this season… if we can keep hold of him! Also watch out for Nathan & Louis Thompson… brothers who have come up through the youth set-up and are now mainstays in the team. We’ve already had several offers for them, which fortunately the club have been able to turn down… so far! My favourite player is Yaser Kasim, a skilful midfielder who usually plays a holding role in front of the defence. His distribution is excellent and he loves to go on exciting forward runs so you never know what to expect. Oh, and did I say he is an international…… for the mighty Iraq! So, that’s two internationals in the side. Who will be your breakout star this year? Will Randall (attacking midfielder) looks an exciting prospect… he scored in a couple of recent friendlies and looks like he could make an impact this season? Now we’ve had to reduce the playing budget and offload a lot of senior players (on decent salaries) left over from the Di Canio era, the club are giving youth a chance which I’m pleased about because under previous regimes they never got a sniff! Another prospect who has broken into the fringes of the squad is forward Connor Waldon. What game are you looking forward to the most? Probably the local derby against Bristol City, although the bigger teams in League 1 like Coventry, Sheffield Utd and Preston should also be entertaining as they all have good away support, and it’s always nice to see a decent crowd… it helps with the finances too. Thanks a lot, Dave. [twitter_follow username=”tomsmyth97″ language=”en”] –