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DAN THE FAN: Lack of bodies presenting a back problem
2:30pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in Sport
WATCHING Town take on Milton Keynes last Saturday, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Mark Cooper’s side.
Was it going to be the team we saw at QPR? or the side that didn’t look interested at Shrewsbury?
Thankfully, the Swindon that beat the best team in the Championship turned up at Stadium:MK.
Alex Pritchard’s perfect free-kick gave Town a well deserved lead and, after an average start to life at the County Ground, he hasn’t looked back since the QPR match.
Unfortunately as the second half got under way, Town found themselves a man down after Nathan Byrne was shown a straight red for a clumsy challenge.
Having Byrne missing for Wolves away, Bristol City at home and Chelsea in the Capital One Cup over the next couple of weeks is a huge blow.
His game is all about attacking the full-back, using his pace and ball control to scare the opposition.
He’ll be a great asset for Town in the final third this season, just not in defence.
Since the campaign got under way last month Darren Ward and Grant Hall have been ever present as the centre back partnership.
Overall they have done a good job, especially Ward, but some questions still remain about his young apprentice.
Hall has undoubted quality as a defender, but I’m still not 100 per cent convinced he will be able to cope with the long 50+ game season ahead.
With Troy Archibald-Henville out on loan at Carlisle, we only have Aaron Oakley and Raphael Rossi Branco as back ups – neither of them quite ready for first team football – and our lack of numbers and quality at the back is a concern.
On Saturday Town travels up to Molineux to face promotion favourites Wolver-hampton Wanderers for the first time in a league game since November 1999.
Fourteen years ago we came away with a 1-1 draw in the Championship.
The Town XI that day featured future Manchester United and England international midfielder Michael Carrick, and our 40-year old manager Jimmy Quinn had to make a cameo appearance due to Town’s dire financial situation.
But with this Town side already showing its ability to raise their game on big away days this season, Cooper’s side can upset the odds.
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