SIX weeks on from being dumped out of the FA Cup in humiliating fashion, whilst sitting joint bottom of League One and 14 points away from a play-off place, Swindon now find themselves sitting in 14th place and six points off the top six.

It’s been an impressive turnaround for a side who looked like relegation fodder just a couple of months ago before the arrival of new manager Martin Ling and his new set-up.

Since Ling took over in early November the new manager hasn’t added to his squad with new arrivals, but has managed to get more out of those players who weren’t pulling their weight under the previous boss.

When Ling was appointed many inside the game, including his good friend and Leyton Orient midfielder Dean Cox, said: “He’s a top man. I think his man management is probably his best trait, he gets the best out of his players.”

Those words seem to be spot on as the former Orient boss has managed to pull together a side that looked like a team of individuals before his appointment and now resemble a side that want to play for each other.

As Town enter the busiest couple of weeks of the season they have to confront a big issue in early January, as loan deals for Ben Gladwin and Louis Thompson come to an end.

Both midfielders have been the two outstanding performers in recent weeks and one of the main reasons why Town have lifted themselves up the table.

If the top brass at Swindon are unable to extend their loan deals for the rest of the season, I envisage a huge problem for the manager, losing two players whose quality at this level will be nearly impossible to replace.

For the first time in nine long years Town fans can look forward to visiting the County Ground on Boxing Day, with third-placed Gillingham the visitors.

There’s no doubt the Gills will be the biggest test of Ling’s tenure to date.

Finally I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Follow me on Twitter @danwjonson

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