SWINDON Town assistant manager Noel Hunt is thankful combative midfielder James Dunne is back in the fold after his brief spell away from football.

Dunne was substituted midway through the 4-0 loss at home to Carlisle after learning that his new-born son Frank required urgent medical attention.

Thankfully, Dunne’s new-born recovered well and the father-of-two can now return to Swindon’s midfield, hoping to continue his early-season form.

The ex-Arsenal trainee has had an eventful first half of the season, playing fifteen times while scoring his first goal for the club and being sent-off in the same game against Crawley in August.

Despite an indifferent first season at SN1, Dunne has shown the type of form this term that will likely persuade Swindon into offering him a new deal before too long.

And Assistant manger Hunt is delighted one of his senior professionals is back involved to add some much-needed guile and aggression to their youthful outfit.

He said: “It’s good to see James (Dunne) back. He’s an energetic character, he’s got a great smile, he’s infectious and he was a miss for us when he didn’t play.

“When he left the field against Carlisle, a bit of energy drained from the whole stadium, but having said that, in the time he was missing, the other boys have really stepped up.”

Since the start of the season, Swindon have flicked between multiple formations, whether it be 4-4-2, 3-5-2 or 4-3-3. Elijah Adebayo and Keshi Anderson have been used as wingers with Marc Richards in the middle and often players have looked out of sorts in unfamiliar positions.

Yet, since the new management team have joined, they have favoured two strikers up front with a solid base of four at the back and Hunt says this pattern is likely to continue moving forward.

Ahead of this weekend’s game against high-flying Newport County, Hunt says he and boss Richie Wellens are unlikely to change their formation to suit their opposition, instead preferring to focus on what their players can do to affect the game.

Hunt said: “It depends on the opposition, but we don’t want to change for anybody.

“As a player, when I saw a team had changed something to suit your system, I saw it as a compliment that you were doing something right in terms of, they’re worrying about trying to stop you instead of focusing on getting a result.

“For us, our principles are the same and we’re trying to keep a close eye on every player, so we’ll take it from there in terms of shape and formation.”

Newport will visit the County Ground having only won one of their last four games.

Before crashing out of the Checkatrade Trophy on penalties to Cheltenham in midweek, County drew away at Welsh-rivals Wrexham.

Newport have played two more games than Town since the beginning of November, winning four to Swindon’s three, and have only had two mid-weeks off in that time, so should be more fatigued than Town come Saturday.