League One preview: Rely on Robins to respond

 

It's been a stop-start season for Swindon so far but they tend to operate like clockwork when it comes to bouncing back from a defeat and we can't resist the 13/8 available on Paolo Di Canio's men to pick up maximum points at faltering Notts County on Saturday.

The Robins went down 1-0 at home to Brentford in midweek, prompting a typically colourful response from their eccentric Italian manager who compared the act of winning football matches at this time of year to stocking up on wood for the fire during the cold winter months.

The analogy, presumably, is that the points acquired in November provide the fuel that drives players to go about their business with greater purpose when conditions are toughest in December and January. Either way, it's a shining example of Di Canio using his imagination and putting things into a context his players can relate to.

And this is primarily the reason why players tend not to get sick and tired with the frequency of his tantrums because his originality keeps them stimulated. All of which goes some way towards explaining a record of seven wins immediately following the last ten league defeats.

Indeed, you might argue that Di Canio provides a stark contrast to his opposite number Keith Curle in this respect. There's no doubt the former Mansfield, Chester and Torquay boss has come back into management with some bright ideas after spending most of the past five years as Neil Warnock's trusty assistant.

Notts County finished last season with a flourish, winning ten of their last 16, and they looked as though they might match Swindon stride for stride as genuine promotion contenders over the course of this campaign when they came away with creditable draws from trips to MK Dons and Sheffield United in September.

That stretched the overall sequence to just four defeats in 25 matches but now Curle appears to be running out of credit. Those early standards weren't sustainable and, without Di Canio's charisma to replenish the sense of purpose in the ranks, the goodwill of the players appears to be on the wane.

The Magpies have now failed to win any of their last five at Meadow Lane and a palpable edginess has crept into their play when the onus is on them to make the running in front of their own fans. All of which considered, we have to side with the visitors.

Meanwhile, Scunthorpe suffered their first defeat under Brian Laws against Bury in midweek but we're not about to desert a capable team that belongs further up the table on the back of one poor result. Therefore, we see some value in the 2/1 available on the resurgent Lincolnshire outfit in the draw-no-bet market for the short trip to Doncaster.

The Iron had the look of a top-half team for most of last season when Alan Knill was in charge but seldom could they convert their territorial dominance into goals. It was clearly a failing on Knill's part and it's come as no surprise to see Laws finding instant solutions.

The level of intensity seems to be biggest improvement from a tactical perspective and Laws expressed his disappointment at what he considered to be a drop in tempo against the Shakers, so expect normal service to be resumed at the Keepmoat.

Betting advice...

2pts Swindon to beat Notts County at 13/8
Magpies aren't creating much and Robins tend to bounce back from setbacks in fine style.

1pt Scunthorpe to beat Doncaster (draw no bet) at 2/1
Donny in good form, but we're not going to write off improving Scunny after one bad result.

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