THE halfway stage of Swindon Town U18s’ Youth Alliance campaign will be marked this morning when Dave Farrell’s young side travel to Devon to face Exeter City.

The Grecians have only recorded three points from their last four fixtures – conceding 14 goals in those games.

Nonetheless, Town U18s boss Farrell is looking for a reaction from his young Swindon prospects after they collapsed to a surprise 2-1 defeat at home to bottom side Cheltenham Town last weekend.

As ever, Farrell will be prioritising his side’s performance before worrying about the result, which he accepts will take care of itself.

Farrell said: “Cheltenham executed their game plan to perfection last weekend. They sat in at the back and made a five and four.

“They defended resolutely and used their physicality and discipline well. We couldn’t break them down.

“I’m looking for a reaction, I look for one every week. Games are getting tougher and tougher now.

“Cheltenham were bottom of the league, and we’ve played better teams than that. The boys are going to have to up their game and standards during the week.”

A win would come at a timely moment for Town, particularly given they sit inside the top half of the Youth Alliance South West standings by just three points.

After each team has played 20 games, the division will split into two – with the top six teams advancing to Merit League I while the bottom five clubs are placed in Merit League II.

At this moment, Town have everything to play for – particularly given that bottom-half clubs Yeovil Town, Plymouth Argyle, Bristol Rovers, Newport County and Cheltenham all have at least one game in hand.

Farrell added: “The players look at the league table – I don’t look at it so much. It’s my job to look at individual performances and the team’s overall performance.

“To me, it’s not relevant regarding a team’s position in the league.

“Of course, Cheltenham were bottom. But there isn’t a lot between teams in this league.

“No doubt some of the players looked at the table and thought Cheltenham would be an easy one. It doesn’t work like that.

“Exeter are a good side. It will be an unbelievably tough game – they pass the ball extremely well.”