Swindon Town confirmed their first signing of the summer in Mansfield Town’s promotion-winning captain Ollie Clarke – what will he bring to Mark Kennedy’s side?

The most obvious thing that Clarke will provide is a huge amount of experience. The entire Swindon squad aside from Clarke have 607 appearances in the EFL, Clarke on his own has 343. It was the consensus across all involved last season that more experience was needed in the team and the midfielder is a strong first step in adding that.

Speaking to John Lomas, the sports editor at the Mansfield Chad, said that it is not just with his mere number of appearances that Clarke will add experience.

He said: “He was club captain until the arrival of Aden Flint (injuries saw him have an in-and-out season) but he always played like he wore the armband anyway.

“He is the perfect fit for a young group with his experience and leadership qualities. He will inspire and lift energy levels.

“I was very sad to see him go as he does affect games and give his all and would have been a very useful, experienced member of the squad next season at the higher level.”

But it is not just the know-how that Clarke adds to Swindon, he is still an exemplary defensive player at this level, as he showed last season. Playing on the right side of Mansfield’s midfield diamond, he enabled players like Louis Reed and Davis Keillor-Dunn to flourish and help take the Stags into League One.

Swindon Advertiser: Clarke's stats from last seasonClarke's stats from last season (Image: Newsquest)

Across all midfielders in League Two last season, Clarke ranked in the top 15 per cent for tackles won, duels won, aerial duels won, shots blocked, and fouls committed according to Fotmob. He will add the bite that Swindon never really possessed last year.

He can also make an impact with the ball at his feet, getting five assists and three goals last season, and is a big fan of a shot as he had 48 attempts in League Two, ranking in the 78th percentile for xG among midfielders. His goals do tend to be spectacular, so expect a few piledrivers next season.

Kennedy tends to prefer a 433 or 343 formation and Clarke is likely to slot in as one of the outside midfielders in a ball-winning role, like Lasse Sorensen in his Lincoln City side, alongside a deeper-lying player and a more advanced, creative player, or as part of a more destructive midfield pair behind the dual tens playing off of a central striker.

Lomas added: “Ollie is a powerful central midfielder, who the Stags used on the right of a diamond.

“If you have a clever central midfield player who can do the fancy stuff and play Hollywood passes, Clarke is the perfect foil alongside him with his gritty hard work and ball-winning talent.

“He has a marvellous engine and is never-say-die in his chasing of the ball and harassing opponents.

“He is good at breaking up play and getting a foot in and will certainly take regular bookings.”