Swindon expert on Robins' hopes for the season, Jerry Yates and Keshi Anderson and the mini 'rivalry' with Blackpool ahead of Saturday's clash at Bloomfield Road

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Blackpool welcome League One newcomers Swindon Town to Bloomfield Road on Saturday for their opening home league game of the season.
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The Seasiders will be looking to pick up their first win of the campaign having suffered a frustrating 1-0 defeat at Plymouth Argyle last week.

Swindon, meanwhile, made the perfect start as they beat Rochdale 3-1 at the County Ground.

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The Gazette caught up with Jonathan Leighfield, the Robins reporter for the Swindon Advertiser, to see how Richie Wellens’ side are shaping up ahead of Saturday’s game.

What's the mood around the club after Saturday's win against Rochdale? Were Swindon as good as the scoreline suggests?

After a couple of disappointing performances in the cup, the league win over Rochdale gave the team some much-needed confidence. The win was made all the more surprising given the contrast in performance from the previous week too. Town absolutely dominated Rochdale in a way that is rarely seen in professional football for the first half. The pressing was intense and Rochdale couldn’t really live with the home side. The second half was much slower as Town managed the game as well as they could to prevent any damage. A sloppy goal at the end would have frustrated manager Richie Wellens and the defence, but you can’t have everything!

How is the squad shaping up? There appears to have been quite a high turnover of players following promotion.

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Swindon boss Richie WellensSwindon boss Richie Wellens
Swindon boss Richie Wellens

The squad is getting there slowly but surely after a number of departures (some more disappointing than others). Wellens still wants a few more before the end, but he won’t rush into making signings and he rarely buys bad players. The squad won’t be at its strongest for Saturday, but I would expect Town to have a solid outfit by the end of September.

What's the aim for Swindon this season? Is there a feeling the club can push on from last season or is it just a case of consolidating?

Personally, I think the aim should be to beat Oxford twice and stay up! But the management team and chairman seem to have aspirations to compete for the play-offs if possible. Whether I think they mean that or not is another story, but the aim should probably be to stay up and build slowly for an assault on promotion next season.

How did Swindon fans react to Jerry Yates and Keshi Anderson joining Blackpool? There seems to be a mini rivalry of sorts developing between the two clubs.

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Anderson moving on was probably for the best for all parties. He’s a very good player on his day, but a problematic hamstring injury, possibly a little immaturity and several falling outs with Wellens meant it was best he moved on. With Yates, that one hurt a lot of Town fans. He was so good for the club in League Two, his work rate is incredible and is a thoroughly likeable young man. I think most people understand why he moved to Blackpool in terms of his earning potential and having a crack at promotion, but he would have been Town’s number one striker had he stayed.

As far as the rivalry goes, I’m not sure it’s too serious – Town fans were getting slightly frustrated at every transfer target seemingly being followed by ‘interest from Blackpool as well’ earlier in the summer. As it’s turned out, the Seasiders have only taken one player that the club wanted, so it’s not too bad.

Are there any injury doubts for Saturday's game?

Several! Town are down to the bare bones in the centre of defence, and midfield is looking slightly weak too with the recent departure of Michael Doughty and injury to Jordan Lyden. Wellens named five subs for last week’s game at home to Rochdale, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen again this weekend.