IT SEEMS as though Swindon have firmly put their embarrassing FA Cup exit to Eastleigh behind them, following up their hard-earned away point at Southend with an impressive win last weekend against Bradford City.

It wasn’t a performance that will live long in the memory - but it was by far the hardest-working Town has looked at home this season - something that’s been missing far too often.

Is the higher recent work rate the Tim Sherwood factor? Possibly, but there is no doubt something has changed over the past couple of weeks.

Anton Rodgers’ postage-stamp free kick last weekend was a real thing of beauty. It’ll be tough to find a better-executed set-piece this season.

Since his arrival at the County Ground it’s fair to say Rodgers hasn’t been a fans’ favourite - and going by quite a few of his performances over his time at Town I would say some of the criticism is fair.

But its also fair to say he has improved and as we’ve seen a couple of times, he is a real asset when it comes to a set piece.

On-loan Liverpool defender Lloyd Jones looks back to his best after a poor few weeks since he returned from injury.

He easily dominated the Bradford attack, not giving them a sniff of a chance all afternoon, with Raphael Rossi-Branco also looking comfortable throughout the 90 minutes.

The biggest surprise was midfielder Tom Smith’s impressive turn as an emergency full-back for nearly the entire second half, which earned him a place in the Football League’s Team of the Week.

In a season where high points have been hard to come by, watching players from the youth team making their mark in the senior side has been great to watch.

Whether it’s Jordan Young starting away at Chesterfield earlier in the season, Will Henry’s penalty heroics in the Checkatrade Trophy, seven youth team players earning squad numbers or Smith’s eight first team appearances, it’s encouraging to see the hard work put in at youth level over many years by many people paying off.

Follow me on Twitter @danwjonson

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