AFTER Swindon Town lost 3-0 to Tranmere Rovers earlier this month, it was suggested to me during our morning conference that I pen an opinion piece detailing what has gone wrong since the end of November.

I said: "Hang on, let me just see what happens against Scunthorpe United on Saturday. I want to put that awful defeat into context. If Town stumble again, then we'll know there are wider issues. If they win, maybe it's the turning point."

At this point, it looks like that humbling defeat at the hands of Micky Mellon's experienced Tranmere side may actually have been the best thing that could have happened to Town.

The players have already spoken about it being a wipe-the-slate-clean kind of moment, and I think it may have freed the coaches up to. It feels like Ben Garner thought: "Oh, we've actually got nothing to lose here. The remit at the start of the season was to stay up. We've done that now, so what the hell? Let's go for it."

The clear switch in formation has been a huge help to aiding Swindon's brave, attacking style - something we'd all been harping on about for some time anyway - but now that there are players in every pocket of space when going forward, we've seen the benefit of that in the past three games with 11 goals scored and none conceded.

Alright, admittedly, Town have played arguably the worst two teams in the league during that time. But on Tuesday night, following an opening half an hour where a buoyant Walsall gave as good as they got, Swindon were insatiable, and I honestly believe they would have beaten absolutely any team in the division with that standard of play.

The performance was brilliant and, near the start of the second half, I looked at that team and felt it was unstoppable, like it could go on and achieve something miraculous come May.

At the start of the season, following a 3-1 win over Scunthorpe on the opening day, I went on the Official Supporters Club's Monday Night Panel and predicted Town would get into the play-offs. It was pretty much based off a simple feeling that football is full of these funny stories and miracle runs, so I thought: "Why not us?"

Without wishing to sound like Nigel Farage (because who on earth would want that?), a good number of people laughed at me. Well, you're not laughing now.

Football, and life - if we're feeling philosophical - is all about timing. Despite a two-month stretch of mostly frustration and disappointment either side of the new year, Town currently have a genuine chance of going up automatically after appearing to find their feet just in time. That's almost unbelievable considering what came before.

The true test will come through March as the difficulty level of Swindon's fixtures - on paper at least - turns up a fair few levels. Contests with Exeter City, Oldham Athletic, Sutton United, and Forest Green Rovers will have to be approached like Cup finals, but should they mostly be won, Town will be breathing down the necks of those in the top three.

That Tranmere game was sobering, but thankfully Town's next three games allowed Garner's men to regain their confidence and find their stride just in time for the race to the finish.

The sprint for an automatic spot will be intense, but if this railway town gets on a roll, it will be full steam ahead for one of the greatest achievements in the club's history.