PHIL Brown has warned his Swindon Town players that they can have few complaints if they pay the price for Saturday's Devon disappointment by losing their places in the team for the County Ground return of David Flitcroft.

The manager made no attempt to hide his displeasure at the way events had unfolded in the 2-0 defeat at Exeter City, branding the performance as "unacceptable'' as his side subsided feebly against the second-placed side.

Brown admitted he had agonised over his team selection prior to the weekend, feeling that several players had pressed strong claims in the midweek Checkatrade Trophy win at Plymouth.

While midfielder Martin Smith and young attacker Scott Twine were handed starts against the Grecians, the likes of Ellis Iandolo and Jak McCourt missed out, while Elijah Adebayo and Steven Alzate had to settle for places on the bench.

The Town boss suggested those whose starting claims were overlooked had every right to ask why, especially in the wake of the result, and suggested no one was safe with Flitcroft-managed Mansfield on route to Wiltshire this weekend.

Referring to Iandolo's omission, he said: "He wasn't the only one. Jak McCourt had a very good game on Tuesday and hit the fatigue barrier. I just thought it was a little bit too early but he put his hand up for sure.

"The door has been opened by the players who played (at Exeter). Not one of them can be the slightest bit disgruntled or argue with being left out.

"Consistency is the key to any kind of success you get. and at this moment in time we haven't got that consistency.

"But it will not be for the want of trying that we get there.''

Top scorer Michael Doughty's return from injury is imminent, the midfielder travelling to Exeter but sitting on the sidelines ahead of a behind-closed-doors run-out alongside Kaiyne Woolery this week, with defender Sid Nelson also on the comeback trail.

Doughty was among those to speak in a lengthy post-match dressing room inquest at Exeter and Brown added: "Again, he's just mentioned the word personality and it's an unusual word to mention when you've been beaten 2-0 by a very strong, solid unit.

"The personality of our team didn't come out and I agree with that. The final third was just not acceptable. It was poor. Whether it was the final pass, the shot or cross, whatever it was.

"In the first half it was okay, to a certain extent and we actually did break the lines a little bit.

"But when Steven Alzate comes on and Elijah Adebayo - who were both probably disappointed to be left out - you want to come on and grab the shirt. I'm not too sure many grabbed the shirt.

"Sid (Nelson) has still got a bit of a niggle and he'll be banging my door down along with one or two others, which is brilliant. I hope they are.''