HOW quickly has that come around? It only seems like yesterday that the 2013/14 season kicked off but in three weeks time it will all be over, writes Andrew Steele-Davis.
Swindon Town have four games of their League One campaign remaining, with a top 10 finish now the aim after the final hopes of a play-off were banished.
Peterborough boast a seven-point lead over Town going into the final stretch of the season, and I really can’t see the Posh imploding for a fourth time this campaign.
But, there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful going into next season as has been demonstrated over the last month.
Swindon have won four of their last five outings, including collecting the huge scalps of Preston, Sheffield United and Brentford along the way.
Only the slender 1-0 defeat at the hands of Carlisle was a minor blot on an otherwise immaculate copybook over the last five weeks.
Town boss Mark Cooper stressed the importance of finishing the season strongly in the wake of the 2-1 defeat to MK Dons, and he should take a lot of credit for Swindon’s sudden upturn in form.
Cooper hasn’t got a blank chequebook at his disposal – as was always available to Paolo Di Canio.
Instead, Cooper has had to pin his faith on youth, putting in place a unique style of play coupled with a team ethic that has ensured the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Cooper has had to bat off his fair share of criticism this season, but say what you will, his coaching acumen and his tactical nous has brought the best out of certain players this season.
The best example of that has been Louis Thompson who has flourished under Cooper’s guidance this season, the youngster displaying tantalising glimpses of what could be a hugely promising career.
All in all, this ruthless and relentless finish to the 2013/14 season by a team consisting of unpolished diamonds that Cooper has had to assemble from scratch should point to a bright future at The County Ground, starting with the 2014/15 season.