TOWN FLIER is the fans' blog on all matters at Swindon Town FC
JED’S JUGGERNAUT is well and truly rolling and, all in all, it has been a rather special week around the County Ground.
The defeat of Harry Redknapp’s squad of Premiership players at QPR on Tuesday was followed by a totally one-sided 5-0 thrashing of Crewe on Saturday.
And comfortably inside the transfer window, there have been a raft of signings, bringing the total of new players on chairman McCrory’s watch to 17. Sixteen have been shipped out, mostly high earners like former captain Paul Caddis who went to Birmingham on deadline day.
On the opening day of the season at Peterborough, for all the pretty football, there was no end product. It was patently obvious that we did not have the personnel to successfully play with a lone-striker system.
Now we have a loan Ranger, Nile to be precise – a target man from Newcastle United with more baggage than Cheryl Cole boarding a transatlantic flight.
Ranger provides all the things that were missing up front at Posh. The ability to hold the ball up (TICK); the ability to win headers (TICK); the ability to make life uncomfortable for centre backs (TICK).
And with two goals in two starts, there is end product as well. If Jed can keep a minder on the controversial front man 24/7 we could be laughing.
Plus, three more strikers have come in: the small but busy Nicky Ajose, whose substitute cameo on Saturday was full of promise, Egyptian Mohamed El Gabas, who apparently impressed enormously in a brief trial, and Dany N'Guessan, who was only too pleased to get away from Millwall after being booed off by his own fans after a brief substitute appearance there this season.
Throw in a supposedly not-fully-fit midfielder (Ryan Mason) who scored a hat-trick on Saturday and the imminent return of the exciting Tijane Reis and lack of goals no longer looks an issue – especially if we give Ranger better service than he received on Saturday.
Manager Mark Cooper now really has a plethora of options in all positions apart from centre back. Let’s hope nothing happens to captain Darren Ward because if he gets injured, despite the best recruiting efforts of McCrory and fellow string puller Lee Power, we would be screwed. I like Cooper and I am glad he has risen without trace to get the boss’s job. He speaks with refreshing honesty, makes a lot of sense and appears not to possess a pair of rose-tinted spectacles. He knows full well about the shortcomings of Swindon Hotspur.
They are certainly not in midfield where Mason, Pritchard, Harley, Saturday’s £400,000 signing and fluke goalscorer Luongo, along with the hugely impressive Yasir Kasim could all play at a higher level.
It was also good to see Jay McEveley, one of the few left from the old guard, back in the fold. The left back gives us some much-needed height in defence and his corners proved far more effective than Pritchard’s.
I would not get too carried away by the Crewe victory, however. Maybe they had the defence of their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in mind – it starts again this week – or maybe they listened to the ill-advised swipes against Swindon from their manager Steve Davis in midweek. For whatever reason, they proved quite woeful opposition on Saturday. No, the proper tests await us in a huge September schedule when we face MK Dons (on TV this Saturday), Wolves, Bristol City, Chelsea (again on TV) and Preston. Then we will know whether Jed’s Juggernaut is trundling towards success.