DAVID Flitcroft feels the early signs between Olly Lancashire and Matt Preston suggest Swindon Town have a strong central defensive partnership in the making.

Preston is just two games into his Town career and is the third different centre-back to play alongside club captain Lancashire this season, following in the footsteps Dion Conroy and Chris Robertson.

A knee cruciate ligament injury for Conroy last month left Town short of options in the heart of defence and boss Flitcroft moved quickly to snap up Preston on a free transfer, with the 22-year-old having been without a club after leaving Walsall over the summer.

The former Saddlers man has made an instant impression and was named man of the match on debut as Town beat Cambridge United at home on September 30 before bagging a first goal for his new club at Cheltenham Town last weekend.

Although that match at Whaddon Road ultimately ended in defeat for Town, Flitcroft believes a strong combination between Lancashire and Preston is beginning to take shape.

“I think it looks quite assured,” said Flitcroft.

“Cheltenham are a robust team, they have robust players and I think we dealt well with that and those League Two forward balls.

“I have been happy with how they have shaped up and partnered and they have taken the work off the training ground.

“Matt was really tired afterwards. I think it’s his second game all season whereas some lads are on their 14th game with pre-season as well. He did fantastic.

“He is a dominant figure but he plays with a calmness when he is defending, I can’t remember him give too many free-kicks away.

“I am happy with how he has settled into the team.”

Behind Lancashire and Preston, Flitcroft was also encouraged by what he saw from back-up goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook, who saved a penalty on debut for Town at Whaddon Road.

Charles-Cook was only involved due a suspension for first-choice keeper Lawrence Vigouroux and Flitcroft felt he excelled in his opportunity.

“Matt and Olly, along with Reice, probably didn’t deserve to be on a losing team but they were and we have got to make sure we cut out those mistakes,” said Flitcroft.

“I thought it was an excellent debut from Reice. I thought his kicking was brilliant and his distribution was good.

“I think he made some good decisions as he came for four or five crosses and his takes were fantastic."