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Match Previews


We take a closer look at this weekend's opponents

4 August 2017

The Robins are the first visitors to Brunton Park this season, and we put them under the microscope ahead of the big kick-off.

Having been relegated from League One last season, Swindon will be looking to start the season brightly and have been tipped by many as promotion hopefuls.

With a new manager at the helm and a host of new players arriving, the County Ground outfit will be determined to pick up the three points in Cumbria.

Ahead of the big game, we take a look at some key talking points from the Robins’ camp and pick out some ones to watch on Saturday afternoon.

Fine Form to Continue?

Similarly to United, Swindon went through pre-season without tasting defeat with some comprehensive results to boot.

The Robins scored twelve goals in their opening two friendly fixtures against Swindon Supermarine and Melksham Town before picking up respectable draws against Oldham and Salisbury.

A 3-0 win over Woking and a 3-2 triumph against Chippenham topped off their preparations and the Reds will be hoping to carry this string of results into the league campaign, starting at Brunton Park.

Opening day omens

Swindon have a strong record on the opening day of the season, having lost only one of their last six opening matches.

Yaser Kasim’s strike was enough to down Coventry City on the opening day of last season, while a Nathan Byrne hat-trick saw the Robins topple Bradford City the previous year.

A similarly strong start this year could set the Robins up for a tilt at promotion come May.

All change - on and off the pitch

After relegation from League One last season it’s been a summer of transition at the County Ground with a change in the dugout as well as various ones on the pitch.

Former Bury boss David Flitcroft has taken over the reigns after previous manager Luke Williams and Director of Football Tim Sherwood departed over the summer.

And Flitcroft has wasted no time in making wholesale changes, bringing in no fewer than ten new faces who will be hoping to make their debuts at Brunton Park.

One new addition - Kyle Knoyle - will have to wait a little longer for his first start after picking up a training ground injury but Ben Purkiss, Olly Lancashire, Chris Robertson, Chris Hussey, James Dunne, Amine Linganzi, Donal McDermott, Paul Mullin and Harry Smith could all feature against the Cumbrians.

What does history tell us?

United and Swindon have met 42 times in total, with the Robins victorious on 13 occasions compared to the Blues’ ten wins. 19 of the encounters have seen the spoils shared

The last meeting between the two sides came on 5 April 2014 as Gary Madine’s strike handed United a 1-0 victory, but prior to that Swindon had been unbeaten in three against the Blues.

This fixture tends to see goals, with three of the last four meetings between the two sides yielding four goals apiece.

Ones to Watch

Donal McDermott - A former Manchester City youth product, McDermott burst onto the scene with a loan spell at Chesterfield in 2009 before joining Huddersfield Town on a permanent deal. He dropped off the radar following spells with Ramsbottom United and Salford City before returning to the Football League with Rochdale. He made 54 appearances in two years at Spotland before joining Swindon this summer. A tricky winger, McDermott will look to provide plenty of opportunities for the Robins and is a real attacking spark.

Luke Norris - A lively forward, Norris joined Swindon last season and scored 4 times in 39 appearances. He began his career with Brentford and, after several loan spells, joined Gillingham. He made 70 appearances at Priestfield before making the move to the County Ground. A real presence in the area, United’s defenders will have to watch Norris carefully this weekend.

James Dunne - An experienced head at this level, Dunne moved to the County Ground this summer after a two-year spell at Cambridge. A product of Arsenal’s youth academy, Dunne first played in League Two with Exeter before later representing Stevenage and Portsmouth before joining the U’s in 2015. A tough-tackling midfielder, Dunne has now made over 275 career appearances and will bring some vital experience to a fairly youthful Robins’ side.

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