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Dan the Fan: Can Swindon end eleven years of hurt?
“We will get revenge for the way they celebrated in the County Ground, that’s not a threat, it’s a promise”
The wonderful words of Paolo Di Canio talking about the clubs neighbours up the A420 after another Town win on Tuesday night.
But before we look at the derby on Saturday there’s the small fact that we are currently sitting comfortably top of the League Two table.
After an incredible run of results that’s seen just 1 defeat in the last 21 league games and a record breaking 10 straight wins in League Two Town are now looking odds on for a return to League One at the first attempt.
And one of the main reasons for our impressive run of results has been the signings made during the January transfer window.
Of course before the new year Town were still riding high and picking up maximum points in most games but recently we’ve found two players that have taken our attacking football up to another level.
Paul Benson brings the same attitude that’s been missing ever since Charlie Austin moved up north just over a year ago, he never stops running either onto through balls or just a ball cleared out of defence.
After just 2 goals in his first 7 games the striker has picked up 4 in his last 4 games and is making all the difference up front, I just hope Paolo sticks with Alan Connell as his strike partner for the rest of the season.
Because that partnership could turn out to be key as the season starts to draw to a close in the next couple of months.
And of course Luke Rooney has taken our performances up a notch with his skill, ability to get past his defender and most importantly his delivery into the box.
Also he gives Town two sides of the pitch to attack from, before Luke joined the club most teams playing Swindon knew that Ritchie was the only main attacking threat we had on the wings.
With Rooney in the first team it takes some of the pressure off Ritchie's shoulders and gives the team more attacking options.
When you look at all the money being thrown around now in the football league the fact we picked up Luke for a “low six-figure sum” is amazing, another great piece of business from Di Canio.
I don’t think anyone can disagree that Ritchie, Ferry, Smith and Rooney is currently the best midfield line up in League Two.
Also huge credit has to go to Joe Devera and Oliver Risser who have both improved beyond recognition in the last month.
After poor starts to their Town career's they were subsequently dropped out of the first team, but have now been given a second chance by the boss and its great to see Paolo's faith in them is now being re-paid on the pitch.
It’s a midfield that desperately needs to stick together over the summer if we are going to have any chance of more success next season.
After a brilliant February ours thoughts now move onto the incredibly important month of March, which starts with the A420 derby on Saturday and finishes with a date at Wembley and a home game against Bristol Rovers.
Tomorrow’s game with the neighbours at the Kassam Stadium has been eagerly anticipated by both sets of fans for the past decade.
Oxford sold out the home allocation months ago and some Town fans queued up in freezing conditions during the night just to make sure they got a ticket for the huge game.
After watching Oxford come to the County Ground last August and earn the bragging rights with a 2-1 win revenge is certainly in the minds of the players, the manager Paolo Di Canio and of course the fans.
Sometimes as a fan it can be hard to put into words how you feel about a certain game/occasion but I think the late great football manager Bill Shankly said it best.
“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that”
Don’t forget you can follow on Twitter @danjohnson6
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