With Jack Bycroft as the only goalkeeper currently on Swindon Town’s books – will they be looking to add to that area this summer?

We have arrived at the good bit. Theoretical Director of Football Acklam is back, and we will be going through each area of the squad to see what Town should be looking to add, beginning with the goalkeepers and moving forward to the juicier bits.

At present, Bycroft is the only goalkeeper in the squad. We expect Redman Evans will be given a professional contract, but as yet Joel McGregor is the only scholar to have been confirmed to be joining the first team.

However, that would not really change my thinking about what happens with the goalkeepers. Evans showed himself to be a strong prospect last season with the under-18s, with his Sunderland performance in the FA Youth Cup Fifth Round being especially eye-catching. But his development will likely be better suited by having the opportunity to have game time so having a third goalkeeper which would enable him to go out on loan would be best. I have a lot of faith in Evans to develop as a potential future number one, but the best thing for young goalkeepers is to play.

As for Bycroft, he had a promising second half of the season after arriving from Southampton. His 0.7 goals prevented over expectation last season was better than Lewis Ward and Murphy Mahoney. Only Corey Addai, Arthur Okonkwo, Paul Farman, Sam Walker, and Jackson Smith had a better number than him who played significant minutes.

He had one or two areas for improvement as his distribution is solid, but lacks the range that Mahoney’s did earlier in the season and also his dominance of his area was hit and miss. Town began to let goals slip from corners late in the campaign as he lost some of the decisiveness he had earlier on. This is very fixable but is certainly something to be followed.

For the purpose of this exercise, I would be looking for a goalkeeper in the market, but it would be for a veteran back-up to act almost as a second coach. Bycroft has played half a season of league football and could benefit from the advice of a more experienced player, the Jacoby Brissett to his Drake Maye, the Andy Dalton to his Bryce Young. An older peer could help both him and Evans to develop, offering another voice to Steve Mildenhall.

Looking at the retained lists from across the EFL, my pick would be Gary Woods.

The 33-year-old left Exeter City having made just two appearances last season and he hasn’t been a regular starter anywhere since 2019. However, this makes him amenable to our purposes. His over 200 senior appearances would be a wonderful resource for Bycroft and Evans to learn from. Woods also had strong pass accuracy last season with his short distribution, helping him step into a system that will be possession-based.

Another option could be Sam Hornby after his departure from Colchester United. He would come in with the ability to push Bycroft more than Woods as he did fill in on loan for Solihull Moors last year and when required had the best goals prevented of any of Colchester’s goalkeeping options. Stylistically, Hornby is used to playing longer and less as a sweeper than Bycroft, making him a less useful stand-in.

Woods is the preferred option here as he is more accustomed to the Scott Carson role. He has been a back-up with Exeter, Kilmarnock, and Aberdeen in recent seasons, so would know the drill as being a well to draw upon and also step in in a pinch.