United’s first away game of the new season is a trip to the County Ground in Swindon and manager Chris Beech is under no illusion that it will be a tough test against a team that has weathered a recent off-field storm.
“In recent history they seem to get to this point in terms of finance where it’s a problem, then they come through, so it’s nothing new,” he said. “Nigel Clibbens said in the summer that there would be a club, they would be here, but it just seems to happen a bit more annually that they have a problem.
“They’ve had the uncertainty but also great players. Obviously there’s Harry McKirdy, but they have other good players. Ben Gladwin, wow, what a footballer he is. He got his move to Blackburn but it didn’t quite work out for him.
“He did ever so well at Swindon under Mark Cooper, and he’s back and playing well. It’s important we understand what they have and what we want to achieve against that.
“As well as Ben there’s Grant, Baudry, so there’s know-how down the spine of the team. They’re good that way.
“And they’ve got flair with Harry, Payne, people like that, and some very attacking full-backs. They’re a good team. I have no doubt they’ll be good on Saturday, and we’ll have to be very good to get a result.”
Having had a good start to the campaign there’s no doubt that they’ll be flying high as they welcome their fans back to their stadium for the first time under the new guidelines and regulations.
“They’ll be in good spirits,” he agreed. “Good luck to them, well done to them for getting all of the off-field stuff sorted.
“But ultimately Swindon won’t help me pay my mortgage, they won’t pay my players, they’re not going to look after us in terms of supporters, we’ve got to look after ourselves against them whether they’re on an up, on a down or feeling pretty mediocre – it doesn’t matter. We’ve got to make sure we’re doing what we want to do.
“And it’ll be good to see Harry again. I had good conversations with him, I wish him well. There’s no doubting his quality, his capability. I hope he’s very successful.
“Knowing Harry, he’ll probably want to step up to that plate. He tried to do it last season at Port Vale, he did play against us, but there’s no personal vendetta towards Harry McKirdy. I wish him well.”