MANAGER Richie Wellens said Swindon Town Football Club is in a better place than he imagined it to be when walking through the doors at the County Ground a little over a year ago.

When taking over, Town found themselves 17th in the Football League’s lowest tier. A year later, the club sits pretty at the top of League Two following a major overhaul of both players and philosophy.

Wellens was openly critical about last season’s squad, saying they were not good enough to reach the League Two play-offs before admitting even winning performances were not to the standard he would be looking for long term.

But with the current Town team drawing praise for their performances, Wellens was left a little surprised about how quickly he was able to alter the club’s fortunes.

Reflecting on his first year as manager of Swindon, Wellens said: “I think the club is ahead of where I expected it to be at this point.

“It was always difficult last year because we just didn’t have good enough players, so you can work with them for as long as you want.

“We went on a couple of good runs where we won a few on the bounce, and I’m happy to win, but you’re looking at the performance and I felt like we just about won the game.

“We weren’t great, but we just got through.

“This year, looking at the performances and wins we’ve had, we deserve to win.”

Of the 37 players to have made a matchday squad for Swindon last term, only 17 continued their careers under Wellens in the 2019-20 season.

Half saw their contracts at the County Ground run down with no option to renew while Matt Taylor retired and nine loanees returned to their parent clubs.

Wellens admitted those circumstances made it much easier to put his stamp on the club and get people talking about events on the pitch rather than off it.

He said: “We had a lot of players out of contract at the end of last season which helped. That meant we could do a lot of things a lot quicker.

“I’m really pleased with where we’re at because from where we’ve come, everybody is speaking about us in terms of the way we’re playing – not just out results.

“I think the way that we’re playing will stand us in good stead over the long term.”