SWINDON Town might as well abandon the rest of the 2013/14 campaign if they are not serious about making the League One play-offs.
That is the forthright view of full-back Nathan Byrne, who has insisted the Robins still believe they have a good chance of securing a place in the top six despite being seven points off the pace with 14 games of the season remaining.
Defeat at Leyton Orient on Saturday, coupled with victories for Peterborough United and Rotherham United, increased the gap between Swindon and the play-off pack, leading some fans to suggest Town’s chances of promotion are all but gone.
But Byrne responded strongly to suggestions that the Robins have lost touch with the promotion picture, claiming that was far from the case.
He told the Advertiser: “All the lads are looking for the play-offs. If we’re not going to strive for something there’s no point, we might as well just give in now.
“All the lads want to reach the play-offs and I think we still can do that if we keep putting results together.
“We’ve seen we can get results against any sort of opposition in our league. Obviously the lads haven’t been as good as we wanted to be away from home but there are still 14 games to go and we’re still pushing on and looking to get in the play-offs.
“We’ve all looked at the rest of the fixtures and we’ve seen all the bigger clubs and the clubs who are up there have still got to come to us. There are a lot of points up for grabs. In seasons gone by there have been a lot of teams pick up a lot of points in the last 10 to 15 games.
“Fatigue comes into it and we’ve got a young squad so I think there’s every possibility that we can still get into the play-offs.”
Having been covered in praise following their 3-2 win at Port Vale on February 8 and comiserated for their penalty shoot-out defeat to Peterborough last week, Town’s players were lambasted by their supporters for a meek display at Orient on Saturday.
Byrne said that dealing with a rollercoaster of emotion is a crucial part of a footballer’s daily life.
“That’s football, isn’t it, that’s all you can say,” he said. “You can understand fans – they pay their money and they want to see good football and they want to see us winning.
“When we’re not doing that they’re going to obviously be disappointed but as a footballer you can’t let that affect you and you can’t let that get on your back otherwise you’re going to start playing worse. That doesn’t go into my head.
“We want to impress our fans and we want to get wins together. We want it as much as they do, that’s all I can say.”