A manager with a self-confessed 'anger' to win and several familiar Portsmouth faces - a look at League One new-boys Swindon

Pompey’s 2020-21 League One season gets under way in just more than six weeks’ time.
Swindon boss Richie Wellens. Picture Dan Mullan/Getty ImagesSwindon boss Richie Wellens. Picture Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Swindon boss Richie Wellens. Picture Dan Mullan/Getty Images

The Blues will again be aiming for promotion after their latest bid fell short against Oxford in the play-off semi-finals earlier this month.

In total, Kenny Jackett’s side will face seven new teams next term.

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Hull and Charlton have been relegated from the Championship, along with Wigan after a 12-point deduction for entering administration came into effect.

However, that is subject to an appeal.

Meanwhile, Swindon, Crewe, Plymouth and Northampton have all come up from League Two.

We’re taking an in-depth look at each of those teams as they plot a course of their own to the Championship.

And we get the ball rolling by examining Swindon, who are back in League One for the first time since the 2016-17 season.

How did they fare last season?

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Despite not being one of the bookmakers' pre-season favourites, Swindon were crowned League Two champions.

After the table was decided by an unweighted points-per-game formula, the Robins finished on 88.17 points – 2.39 clear of Crewe at the summit.

Much of Swindon's success was down to the prolific goalscoring exploits of Eoin Doyle.

The Irishman, who spent the second half of the 2016-2017 season on loan at Pompey, scored 25 goals in total.

However, he recently joined Bolton on a free transfer.

Who is their manager?

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Richie Wellens is currently in the driving seat at the County Ground.

The former Leicester midfielder succeeded Phil Brown as boss in November 2018, having previously managed Oldham Athletic.

Wellens has a 44.4 per cent win ratio at the Robins and was recently linked to the vacant Bristol City job.

His assistant boss is Pompey League Two title-winner Noel Hunt.

How's their summer transfer window played out?

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Swindon have suffered a double striking blow after being promoted.

Doyle, as mentioned above, turned down the chance to sign a new deal at the County Ground. He instead opted to remain in the fourth tier and penned a three-year contract at Bolton Wanderers.

The Robins also missed out in the race for Jerry Yates.

He scored 13 goals in 35 appearances during his season-long loan from Rotherham and Swindon were keen for him to return.

However, it was instead Blackpool who clinched the signing of Yates.

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One player who is back at the County Ground for a second spell is Diallang Jaiyesimi.

He impressed during his loan from Norwich last term and has rejoined permanently after his release from Carrow Road.

Player-of-the-season Anthony Grant could also rejoin the Robins following the expiry of a short-term contract.

Familiar faces

We could see at least four ex-Pompey players return to Fratton Park with Swindon next season.

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Former fans' favourite Danny Rose played an integral part to land a third League Two title of his career with the Robins.

The midfielder, of course, won a winners' medal with the Blues in 2017 and Northampton a year earlier.

Rose is currently out of contract but is in discussions over a new deal.

In the same situation is a player who failed to make a single outing for Pompey, despite a loan move – Lloyd Isgrove.

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The winger moved to Fratton Park from Barnsley in January 2019 but was reduced to a support-act role.

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He too is currently out of contract but Wellens recently told BBC Wiltshire the club are getting closer to an agreement.

Swindon are also hopeful that Dion Donohue will stay fit during pre-season and sign a deal.

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The Welshman moved to the Robins in October after having his contract terminated by Mansfield following an incident in a nightclub.

What are Swindon’s ambitions?

Wellens told BBC Wiltshire earlier this month that he believes League One is a ‘bit of a mini-Championship’ and a difficult season lies ahead.

Nevertheless, the Swindon boss declared he’s not going into the third tier to be an ‘also ran’ and just aim for survival.

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He’s talked about how important it will be to get his recruitment right in order to be able to mount a decent challenge.

Wellens added he has ‘got this anger, this passion to win football games and Swindon have really ignited that’.

What is Pompey’s record against Swindon?

In total, there have been 69 meetings between the two sides since 1920.

The Blues have been victorious on 23 occasions, drawn 18 and lost 28 – creating a win ratio of 33 per cent.

The last time they faced off was on January 1, 2013, when the Blues were thrashed 5-0 at the County Ground.