MANAGER David Flitcroft feels the preparation put in place during pre-season is starting to bear fruit for his Swindon Town side as they bid to make it five wins on the bounce this evening.

Town travel to local rivals Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy where victory for either side would see them qualify for the knockout stages.

After putting back-to-back wins on the board just once in their opening 17 fixtures of the 2017-18 campaign, Swindon have really hit their straps in recent weeks as they sit fifth in the League Two table and are also through to the second round of the FA Cup.

One of Flitcroft’s first acts following his appointment as Town manager over the summer was to arrange a pre-season training camp in Portugal and the former Bury and Barnsley boss believes that his side’s recent good run of form is a reflection that the principles he set out when the group were away are starting to bed in.

“I think it is down to going away to Portugal, where we really laid down the plans for the future and showed that if you want to be a Swindon player, just how hard it would be,” said Flitcroft.

“We have implemented the vision of that and a strategy.

“Matt Preston coming in has really improved us, but I think around the whole squad, there is no one set of 11 players that have done it.

“The whole squad are committing to what we do in training, committing to what we do in the classroom, and they are a credit to the club.”

Tonight’s match sees Town pit their wits against a side from League One, with Rovers safely entrenched in mid-table.

Although Flitcroft concedes teams from the division above will naturally be of a higher calibre, he has no doubt that Town can go toe-to-toe with Darrell Clarke’s troops.

“There is an obvious difference – the quality and standard of centre-halves is better, they can cope with movement, and structurally, they are good,” said Flitcroft.

“I think the top forward players in that league – your Jermaine Beckfords, Craig Davies or Billy Bodins of this world – there is some real quality in League One.

“It is a league that is better but you have got an opportunity 11 against 11 to commit to a potential winning performance.”

Flitcroft will assess the fitness of midfielder Timi Elsnik and striker Harry Smith ahead of the trip to the Memorial Stadium, with the former limping off before half-time with a knee injury in the FA Cup win over Dartford on Sunday and the former complaining of a sore groin in the latter stages.

Striker Luke Norris and left-back Chris Hussey remain sidelined with shoulder and groin issues respectively, while central defender Dion Conroy is a long-term absentee with a knee injury.

Flitcroft said: “We took Timi off as precaution. I wanted him to stay on and try to get his hat-trick, but he took a bit of a knock to his upper knee. We will get him settled and the medical staff will let me know how he is.

“You have an initial plan for your team in your head but we will get the data in and decide who is going to be involved and who is not.”