Swindon Town manager John Sheridan has thrown down the gauntlet to his players ahead of tonight’s A420 Derby, with the Robins’ boss telling Banbury Cake that it’s a game his side can win on home turf.
Sheridan’s side head into tonight’s game off the back of losing two games on the spin in the league to Sunderland and Accrington Stanley respectively and will be hoping that a return to the home comforts of the County Ground will go in their favour this evening.
Currently sitting just above the relegation zone by just a single point, the sheer magnitude of what is always a massive game has been taken up a notch with the players and management all being fully aware of what is at stake when the two sides take to the field at 7pm.
Speaking ahead of the game, Sheridan was quick to send out the following message:
“I think the lads know, it’s a massive game for us.
“The supporters, I know they won’t be there, but it’s a massive game for them against their local rivals.
“It would be a good scalp to claim, and it would give us confidence especially leading into another big game at home.
“These two games at home are big – we’ve won our last two at home, so we’ve got to carry that on.
Quiz: Have any of these 22 players ever been in Swindon Town’s academy?
“Oxford are a technically good team, they’ve got a good manager.
“I know they haven’t won in five or six, but previously to that they were on a really good run.
“It’s a game we can win, and that’s the mentality we’ve got to go in with.”
A victory for the Robins could see them potentially open up a four point gap between themselves and the drop zone as well as seeing them up to 19th place if other results fall in their favour in this round of fixtures.
It’s nice to see Sheridan showing some confidence ahead of what is a massive game but he will be all too aware of what the fallout could be like if his side do not come out on top against their arch rivals.
Defeat would not only affect the club psychologically but it would also drop them right back into the mire of the relegation zone if other sides win around them.
Oxford have however failed to pick up a win in each of their last five League One games and as a result the pressure will be firmly on them to get a victory in order to keep their faint hopes of making the play-offs alive.
They do boast the better recent head to head record between the two but as we all know, the form book goes out the window and anything can happen on derby day.