Match Preview: County v Swindon Town

County return to Edgeley Park this weekend for what manager Dave Challinor has described as a ‘must-win’ game for his side, as we take on Swindon Town in SK3.

County put in a much-improved performance on Tuesday night away at Gillingham, but despite a dominant first-half were held 0-0 at Priestfield to make it three games without a win for the league leaders.

It’s getting incredibly tight at the top of League Two as we enter the final 13 games of the campaign – we currently sit two points clear of Mansfield Town, three clear of Wrexham and four ahead of Crewe Alexandra in fourth, with MK Dons just three points further behind in fifth.

Elsewhere in League Two on Saturday, Wrexham now travel to Gillingham, Mansfield host a Salford side unbeaten in eight games, Crewe go to play-off chasing Notts County and MK Dons are at home to Newport County.

For opponents Swindon, they come into Saturday’s game looking for a first win in five games after defeat at home to MK Dons last time out. The Robins currently sit 18th under interim manager Gavin Gunning, 16 points above the relegation zone and nine points off a play-off spot.

Things you need to know:

  • Tickets in the Vitality Railway End are still available for this fixture, with all other stands now sold out! Click here to order yours today!
  • Saturday is the club’s dedicated County Collective fixture, highlighting the work we’ve been doing to make the club a more inclusive environment for players, staff and supporters. Click here for more information.
  • Don’t forget to turn up early to Edgeley Park to visit the County Courtyard, which will be opening its doors from 1.00pm! For more information on all the food and drink on offer this week, click here.
  • Coming to the game on Saturday? Click here to view our Fan Information pack, containing all you need to know ahead of your visit to Edgeley Park.
  • This fixture will be available for overseas supporters to watch over on Stockport County Live, whilst featuring live match audio commentary from Jon Keighren and Sam Byrne will be available for supporters in the UK. Click here to purchase your video match passes today.

Since we last met:

These two sides played out a thriller at the County Ground back in November, as County twice came from behind to secure a 4-2 win thanks to goals from Will Collar, Kyle Wootton, Odin Bailey and Callum Camps.

An Odin Bailey screamer helped us to victory at the County Ground.

It was a result that left us five points clear at the top of the table after what was an 11th straight league win, form in stark contrast to that of Swindon at the time after what was a fifth straight loss in all competitions.

The Robins were actually amongst the early pace-setters in the division after going unbeaten in their first nine games of the season, equalling a club record for their best start to a campaign and earning manager Mike Flynn a new contract just months into his time at the club.

By the time of that meeting in November however, their form had taken a dramatic nosedive in both league and cup, not helped by a porous defence that had conceded 17 goals in just four games. A 1-1 draw at Harrogate the following weekend left them with just one win from nine games in League Two.

Consecutive wins over Mansfield Town and Accrington Stanley offered some respite, but that was soon followed by a run of six defeats in eight that included a 4-0 thrashing at Wimbledon and a 3-0 defeat at home to Barrow.

A 2-1 loss at Crewe in mid-January spelt the end of Flynn’s time at the club, the former Newport and Walsall boss departing with the Robins in 15th place having lost ten of his last 15 games in charge. Swindon’s development phase loans manager, Gavin Gunning has since been placed in interim charge for the third time during his time at the club.

33-year-old Gunning enjoyed a winning start to life in the dugout, beating Bradford City 2-0 at the County Ground, but they are now four without a win after defeats to Newport and MK Dons and draws with Salford and Gillingham.

Swindon’s cause was not helped in January by the loss of arguably their two best performers in the first half of the season, with loan stars Jake Young and Dan Kemp since being recalled by parent clubs Bradford City and MK Dons respectively. The duo had scored 30 goals between them in the first half of the campaign.

County claimed a first clean sheet in eight games on Tuesday night.

In truth goalscoring has not been much of an issue for the side so far this season – only six teams have scored more than their 57 so far this campaign, and the club have since moved to bring fan favourite Harry McKirdy back to the club on loan from Hibernian. The 26-year-old hit 20 league goals for the Robins just two seasons ago as they finished in the play-off places, and has one in four since returning to the County Ground.

It’s at the other end of the pitch where their issues have been this season. Only basement side Sutton United have conceded more than Swindon’s 61 this season, keeping only one clean sheet in their last 23 games in all competitions.

Match Stats:

  • Saturday game will be the 39th meeting between the two clubs, with County winning 14 of the previous encounters to Swindon’s 16 – although we have now won each of the last three meetings in all competitions.
  • Dave Challinor will have taken on a different manager in each of our last four meetings with Swindon Town, after Scott Lindsey, Jody Morris, Mike Flynn and now Gavin Gunning on Saturday.
  • Only nine players have made more league appearances for Stockport County than Ben Hinchliffe. The County legend made his 303rd league appearance for the club on Tuesday, overtaking Sean Connelly to move into the top ten.


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