SUMMER signing Ben Purkiss believes Swindon Town will be a much tougher proposition defensively next season.

Town suffered 24 defeats in 46 outings on the way to relegation from League One in 2016-17, with Purkiss having to endure the same pain as his old club, Port Vale, dropped into the fourth tier too.

The Valiants got the better of Town in a crunch game towards the back end of last season as both sides battled to beat the drop and Purkiss felt Swindon were an easy side to exploit at the back.

However, the 33-year-old full-back does not envisage the same problems under new manager David Flitcroft as they bid for a swift rise out of League Two.

“My decision (to sign) wasn’t based on how I thought they performed last year because, when you have different managers, they implement different styles and new ideas,” said Purkiss.

“Whenever I was playing for the opposition against Swindon, be it at Walsall or Port Vale, we’d always know Swindon were a passing team but we also knew that they would leave gaps at the back, would perhaps over play in the wrong areas, and they’d be the opportunities we’d look to take advantage of.

“I know the gaffer and Ben Futcher (assistant manager) are different in that respect. I know they will want us to play but I know they will be emphasising other qualities and I know how competitive they are.

“I would have thought, with the two of them coming in, they will maybe be able to change that mentality and that attitude, and that was something I looked at.

“I think, with the players already at the club, some good young players, if they can add that little bit of experience and know-how, we have got a good opportunity this season.”

It is not just tactically that Purkiss felt Town had shortcomings with last season as the right-back saw signs of a side that did not possess the required match-craft to get themselves out of trouble.

“I think it’s about understanding what it takes to win,” said Purkiss.

“Just speaking to a couple (of players), I think there was perhaps a lack of structure and professionalism from Monday to Friday and if you don’t get that right, that spills over into the games on a Saturday.

“I know they had a couple of decent results towards the end of the season, which perhaps gave them hope but I think, throughout the season, the team wasn’t good enough and was ultimately unsuccessful.

“It is about mentality but that mentality isn’t just about the 90 minutes on the Saturday, it’s about the whole week and to prepare yourself for what is a long season.

“There are a few more senior players coming to the club and hopefully that’s what we can bring.”