DAN THE FAN: Maddening inconsistency threatens to undermine our hopes

DESPITE beating one of the favourites for promotion in Peteborough last weekend, Town fans had to endure another lacklustre away day from Mark Cooper’s side on Tuesday night.

It’s left us fans scratching our heads as to why the same team couldn’t reproduce the same quality against bottom side Stevenage. If Town have any ambitions of finishing in the top six in May, beating the likes of Stevenage has to be commonplace.

Thankfully, the squad doesn’t have to wait long to get that performance out their system, with struggling Gillingham up next at Priestfield on Saturday.

Just when we thought ‘the Nile Ranger Story’ had come to an end, the club made the surprising decision to allow the striker to make a return to the squad at the weekend.

Let’s be honest, if the guy wasn’t one of the best strikers in the Football League he would have been released months ago.

Let’s hope his apology to his teammates and manager was genuine and he will get his head down, and focus on getting Town promoted.

Another surprise greeted home fans last Saturday as defender Raphael Rossi Branco not only made a starting appearance, but was also the standout man on the day.

Brazilian-born Rossi Branco joined in the summer from non-league Whitehawk, but since his arrival he’s only got to know many of the dugouts around League One.

His debut last October against Plymouth in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy was a disappointing one but after his impressive display at Bradford, the centre-back has forced his way into Mark Cooper’s team selection.

Despite coming up against one of League One’s best attacking line-ups, Branco looked confident and made more than one key challenge throughout the game.

Despite this, Town’s back four still need another new face to add more quality and vital experience.

The squad also needs more faces up front, even with the signing of George Barker in this transfer window.

Nicky Ajose has not being replaced since his return to Peterborough, and Ranger will be out of action over parts of February as his court case begins in Newcastle.

Thankfully, two key players, Wes Foderingham and Alex Pritchard, haven’t been the subject of an enquiry in this transfer window yet, but I’d expect that to change.

And it wouldn’t surprise me if interest was shown in full-back Nathan Thompson, one of the club’s most consistent performers.

Follow me on Twitter @danjohnson_stfc

SWINDON TOWN NEWS UPDATED DAILY, PLUS MATCHDAY LIVE FROM TOMORROW'S CLASH AT GILLINGHAM AT GAZETTEANDHERALD.CO.UK/SPORT

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