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Club News

Match Preview: Barrow AFC vs Swindon Town

5 April 2024

Club News

Match Preview: Barrow AFC vs Swindon Town

5 April 2024

The Bluebirds aim to bounce back from Monday’s defeat against Morecambe when they host Swindon Town tomorrow.

During their latest run out, The Bluebirds suffered their first defeat in six games at the hands of Morecambe, after the Lancashire side ran out 2-1 winners at The Mazuma Stadium on Monday.

The Bluebirds went two goals down in 11 minutes and struggled to get back into the game during the first half. However, the Bluebirds went on to dominate the second half, but they came up short in the end despite Ben Whitfield pulling a goal back in the second half after he reacted quickest to a ball parried into this path by the Shrimps’ keeper.

Whitfield’s goal now takes his current tally up to 11 for the season, with eight of these coming in the league.

Team News 

There is a possibility that Niall Canavan could make his return to the team tomorrow whilst Luca Stephenson is being assessed following his injury against Morecambe.

The Opposition

Saturday’s opposition, Swindon Town currently sits in 19th place in the Sky Bet League Two table under the guidance of interim manager, Gavin Gunning who’s now into his third spell as gaffer.

Swindon are onto their second manager of the season after Michael Flynn was sacked in January 2024. Since the interim appointment of Gunning five months ago, he has gone on to manage 13 games, winning three, drawing four, and losing six. He has since gone on to maintain a win percentage of 23%, whilst averaging 1.0 points per game.

In their previous five league encounters, they have picked up three points having won once and lost four. You’ll have to go all the way back to February to find their last clean sheet, when on the 24th of February, they managed to hold off league leaders, Stockport County in a 0-0 draw away from home.

A star player to watch out for his striker and top scorer, Charlie Austin. Since rejoining Swindon back in December 2022, he has made a total of 63 appearances and scored 21 goals with six assists. So far this season, the former Premier League striker has been an influential player to the Wiltshire side, scoring 10 league goals and assisting six times in 41 league appearances.

Head-to-Head

Barrow has played Swindon a total of five times since our return to the EFL with two of those games ending in victory for The Bluebirds, whilst The Robins also ran out victorious on two occasions with just one game ending in a draw.

The previous game between the two sides at Holker Street stadium came in December 2022. The away side converted an early by Louis Reed and then The Bluebirds struggled in the game with Swindon running out 1-0 winners.

The two sides have already faced each other this season back in December 2023 at The County Ground when the game ended 0-3 to The Bluebirds which extended Barrow’s EFL unbeaten streak to 11 games. Goals from Kian Spence, Sam Foley, and James Chester helped us pick up all three points.

Referees

The man taking charge of Saturday’s fixture is Ben Toner. Toner has taken charge of 27 matches this season, with 26 of these coming across the three EFL leagues. He has handed out a total of 134 yellow cards in the fixtures he’s officiated but has only given one player their marching orders.

His last match officiating the Bluebirds came back in October 2023, when Barrow faced Notts County at Holker Street. In a game in which statistically the away side dominated, with 67% possession, The Bluebirds created countless more chances to score and win the game but a slip-up in the box meant County was awarded a penalty on 14 minutes which David McGoldrick converted. However, Wild’s men continued to push on and create multiple opportunities and were eventually rewarded when Kyle Cameron handled the ball in the penalty area, gifting a penalty to the Cumbrians. It was dispatched superbly by Dean Campbell on 79 minutes which meant the game finished level.

Serving alongside Toner will be Bradley Hall and Mark Cunliffe, who will be assistant referees on Saturday afternoon. Alex Gray will also be taking the role of Fourth Official.

Words by Dylan Whitbread


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