SWINDON Town midfielder Jak McCourt believes there is much more of a family feel between his current team-mates than there was with the Barnsley side with which the 23-year-old reached the League One play-off final in 2016.

McCourt only played once for the Tykes in his six-month spell – mostly watching on from the substitutes bench – as they eventually saw off Millwall at Wembley, a year after Town’s humbling 4-0 defeat at the hands of Preston North End in the same fixture.

The 23-year-old says Richie Wellens’ January signings have all integrated into the group seamlessly and have improved on what was an already confident dressing room.

The former Chesterfield man has the utmost confidence in his current team-mates to be able to reach the play-offs by the end of the season if the results and morale continue to dovetail like recent weeks.

McCourt said: “We’re a tighter group than the group I was a part of at Barnsley.

“There’s a lot more stuff that the lads do together here and it’s a very good dressing room to be in.

“Every lad gets on with everyone. There’s never anyone by themselves, and if there is, someone will always put their arm around them if someone is going through a bad time or they’re not happy.

“There’s much more of a togetherness here than what there was at Barnsley.

“You’ll hear loads of professional and ex-professional footballers say it – the key to success is to have a happy dressing room and a dressing room that’s together. We’ve definitely got that now.

“It does show with the results that we’re getting lately. With the new players that the manager has brought in, they’ve been really good players and off the field, they’re a really good bunch as well.”

Since McCourt settled into the side under Wellens around the turn of the year, Town have only lost twice in 11 games while conceding just two goals in their last four home games.

Enhanced showings at the Energy Check County Ground was at the top of Wellens’ list of desired improvements pre-Christmas, and McCourt’s run in the team has coincided nicely with that.

The Liverpudlian pointed to an increased tactical understanding from himself and the likes of Canice Carroll and James Dunne as one of the main reasons behind Town’s ability to nullify the opposition’s attacking threats and start picking up results on home turf.

McCourt said: “We all know our jobs and we do the horrible side of the game – that’s why you always hear about the strikers getting paid more money, because they go out and get the goals.

“Since the manager has come in, we’re a fitter team and we get around the pitch more. Our pressing has improved, and we’ve not been conceding goals, that’s why our form has improved.

“If you ask every midfielder here, they’re happy with their job and they’re happy to let the other lads take the limelight. If we’re picking results up and we’re getting closer to the play-offs, then that’s fine by me.”