RICHIE Wellens has urged the younger members of his squad to knuckle down and improve as he attempts to turn around Swindon Town’s dip in form.

Wellens criticised the performance of his side in the wake of their 2-0 defeat at home to Exeter City on New Year’s Day, stating that some Town players “believe they are better than they are”.

That loss to the Grecians extended Swindon’s winless run in League Two to a fifth game and they will look to arrest that slide when they travel to second-from-bottom Macclesfield Town on Saturday.

Swindon travel to Moss Rose having picked up just three points during that poor run and are now nine outside the play-off places with 20 games to go this season.

Wellens has been forced to rely on a raft of youngsters during his near two-month tenure as Town boss, with the squad short of options due to lingering injuries.

Although Wellens does not think there is any unnecessary arrogance within his squad, the Town boss feels being given so many match minutes may have gone to some players’ heads.

“It’s not that the players are big-headed, but sometimes when the inexperienced players have two or three good games, they will start to believe that they have made it, or cracked it,” said Wellens.

“Football has a horrible habit of catching you out. Things will happen, and players will fall slightly off their game.

“And players will then get the better of them. That’s what happened on Tuesday – Exeter got the better of us.

“Whereas experienced players know that you have to keep performing and doing what you have been.

“I’m talking about Matt Taylor, who has been a professional footballer for a long time. He does the right things on the pitch.

“I’m hoping it’s a valuable lesson learnt for our younger players.”

Wellens has no problem with the quality of young talent he has at his disposal, but concedes the fact that Town are heavily reliant on inexperienced players is holding them back at present.

“I’ve perhaps mentioned this in every interview, I like having four or five young players because they do want to learn,” said Wellens.

“They do want to listen, and they have energy – which can be infectious.

“But, we can’t have seven or eight – that’s too many.

“Any team with seven or eight 18 to 21-year-olds in the team are going to get indifferent performances.”