SWINDON Town manager David Flitcroft believes a sure sign that he has started to implement improvements at the club was epitomised in the manner of their FA Cup success away at Dartford at the weekend.

Town ruthlessly swept aside their non-league opponents with a clinical display in front of goal to triumph 5-1 in Kent but what pleased Flitcroft most of all was how they rose to the challenge of a hostile opponent, environment and occasion.

In recent seasons, Swindon have been known as a side who look good on the ball but perhaps can be brushed off it too easily.

Town go looking for a fifth successive victory in tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy clash away at Bristol Rovers and Flitcroft is adamant the same can no longer be said of his players as they have a new toughness about them – both mental and physical.

“We’re a team in League Two so you always think maybe a non-league team has got strength and power over you and they can dominate you at set-pieces,” said Flitcroft.

“This Swindon team, you can’t. It’s full of size and full of structure and full of character.

“Dartford had some strong players but when they put the long throws in, we could cope with it, corners and set-pieces, we could cope with it.

“That’s what’s changed at the football club – the mentality and focus has one million per cent changed.

“It’s a football club that is together and I am sure the chairman will be delighted as he was desperate for us to get through.

“We have got another important game on Wednesday. This group of players just want to get the games under their belts and they are in terrific form at the moment.

“I have brought good characters to the club who want to play games, who will play with slight twinges, and will play through pain. That’s what a good football club represents for me.”

Tonight’s Trophy match against Rovers is perfectly poised, with both sides knowing that victory will send them through to the knockout stages.

Town gave themselves a shot at qualification by beating Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 in their previous group game last Tuesday so Flitcroft’s troops know exactly what they must do at the Memorial Stadium.

“It has simplified it with what they have done and what we have done,” said Flitcroft.

“We could and did rest seven players last Tuesday and we deservedly won as in the last 20 minutes of the second half, we created some fantastic chances.

“We deserve to be in the position to try to get through to the next round and that’s something we will be fully committed to.”