LET’S HEAR it for Joe Devera, one of the unsung heroes of the Swindon Town squad.
Since his arrival from Barnet, Devera has often had to wait his turn given our strength in the centre back department with Alan McCormack, Aden Flint, Darren Ward and, sometimes Troy Archibald Henville ahead of him in the pecking order.
When opportunities arose they have often been to play out of position at right back.
But Joe never gives less than 100 per cent and, with McCormack and Flint unavailable, he came in to produce another utterly reliable display in the 2-0 win at Walsall on Saturday.
Okay, the Saddlers were pretty limited and we did have the advantage of a goal within 57 seconds, but after losing his very first aerial battle of the match, I didn’t think Devera put a foot wrong.
And unlike his partner on the day, Ward, he has the ability to hit a well-weighted, teasing ball into space beyond the back four for his strikers to feed off.
Boss Paolo Di Canio will find it a bit more difficult to cast Joe aside when the squad is back to full strength.
Which brings me back to the resources available to Paolo.
Walsall’s Dean Smith is the latest beaten manager to cast envious eyes at the Swindon line-up. Paolo, however, insists it is a miracle we are where we are in the league given the recent transfer embargo and our long list of injuries.
Two sides of the same coin, I suppose.
There is already an element of verbal volleying between Di Canio and new chairman Sir William Patey that suggests it may not be a marriage made in heaven, but the boss appears to have taken on board some of the former diplomat’s early criticism.
We were treated to a post-match Marcel Marceau mime at the Bescot – but not the usual ‘we’re going up , they’re going down’ schtick, which Sir William took exception to. Instead, we saw a routine alluding to the fans, himself and the players all being in this task together. No one can take offence at that.
The belated lifting of the embargo has not prompted the expected flurry of activity. Sheffield Wednesday striker Gary Madine and young Bolton full back Joe Riley were briefly on the radar. Perhaps the due diligence Patey demanded in properly researching transfer targets caused them to be cast aside.
Surely there are areas that need strengthening more than right back, a position Nathan Thompson has made his own.
Our misfiring strikers can have no beef about more competition for places. Is Madine any better than we have already, though? He has struggled in the Championship but was quite prolific for both Carlisle and Sheffield Wednesday in League One. Congratulations to Miles Storey whose whirlwind rise to fame in the last month now includes a start for England U19s against Finland on Tuesday night.