Six games into the Jody Morris Era at Swindon Town, and the new man has had to spend too much time visiting the physios’ room, as seven members of his first team are out of action, all of them defenders.
With this injury crisis at the club, a makeshift backline was assembled for Town’s trip to league leaders Leyton Orient, where we all witnessed a solid and committed performance to see us leave with a well-deserved point.
With the Head Coach wanting to play five at the back, we saw three centre-backs comprised of wing-back Joe Tomlinson, Tom Clayton, and Town youth product Harrison Minturn, making his first league start for the club.
It’s always encouraging as a fan to see youth talents such as Harrison Minturn given his chance at a professional level as he was placed in the deep end against the best side of the division, he could have sunk, but he enjoyed an impressive afternoon.
Ever since making his debut for Town in November 2021, he’s been someone to watch as his career began to take flight. I witnessed his second start for the club in the Papa John’s Trophy, when Town lost 2-1 to Colchester Utd, in Anthony Grant’s last appearance for the club.
Town was 2-0 down within eleven minutes, but the young defender never seemed fazed and despite the scoreline, continued to play his game. Fourteen months on and a few loan moves later, you can see the improvement, he still has a long way to go in his career, but he’s made a good start.
Another player who surprised everyone, and hasn’t been seen at all in League Two action this season was Reece Devine, who looked like a man ready to prove himself.
He certainly left a big impression, as he went past his man on more than one occasion, and with a better-placed shot, could’ve opened the scoring.
But unlike Minturn’s full league debut, Devine’s didn’t end on a positive note as the young defender picked up another injury, which will see him out for a while.
It shows the mental anguish players go through, as he would’ve been on cloud nine after the first half at Brisbane Road, but at full-time, he knows he’ll have a hard battle to get back in the side.
I hope he can make it back to play some part in the rest of the season, as everyone saw what he can offer on his day.
A couple of new defenders need to be signed this week to help out the remaining four fully fit men who can play at the back.
But with two of them wing-backs by trade, Remeao Hutton and Joe Tomlinson, centre-backs are imperative for this weekend.
As you’re reading this, the new free agent defender Jody Morris mentioned in his post-match interview on Saturday, could have been revealed.
And if so, he’ll need to go straight into the squad this Saturday, but our Technical Director Sandro di Michele needs to be on the phone right this second, securing at least one more.
Names such as former Watford man Adrian Mariappa, and former Liverpool youth defender Tom Brewitt have been mentioned as possible incomings, but we’ll have to see what the week brings.
Our head of recruitment has been unfortunate with the number of injuries in the first-team squad, but his decision to approve Angus MacDonald to walk away for free before securing the signing of Malachi Fagan-Walcott from Tottenham must be something he looks back on and shudders.
This weekend Town is back in action at SN1 as they welcome an in-form Carlisle United side, who have enjoyed a superb season under Paul Simpson.
The Cumbrians sit in second place in League Two after three straight wins have pushed them into the automatic promotion places.
With our depleted squad, and makeshift, patched-up back line, we all know it will be a tough afternoon, but as was shown at the weekend, this squad certainly has enough about them to take points from anyone in League Two.