The 2012/13 season has already been a
rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows for Swindon. And for all that Paolo Di
Canio takes the maniac sergeant major approach to ridding his troops of their
inconsistencies, we reckon old habits will die hard against Shrewsbury at the
New Meadow on Saturday.
Robins were 3-1 winners against Burnley in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday - the
eighth higher-division scalp they've taken in 14 months under the eccentric
Italian - but history shows the next performance doesn't always match-up to the
standards set in knockout competition.
In seven past encounters with giantkilling anti-climax, the Wiltshire club have managed only one win. Some might argue that the trend is hardly conclusive with four draws occupying the sample but those stalemates have occurred against the likes of Hereford, Wimbledon, Bristol Rovers and Hartlepool.
Meanwhile, Shrewsbury are one of the two teams to have fully capitalised on the habitual dip. They beat Swindon 2-1 in the corresponding fixture last season after the Robins had triumphed over west country rivals Bristol City in the Carling Cup. Now they look enticing value to repeat the trick at 2/1.
Salop, of course, boasted a formidable home record last term -collecting 59 points from a possible 69 - so we shouldn't be too surprised that the eventual League Two champions were among the long list of 18 casualties in Shropshire, especially when you consider that Graham Turner's men finished runners-up, just five points behind.
There's no denying that Swindon have bolstered their ranks with some quality recruitments over the summer and James Collins will spearhead the attack for the visitors against the club for whom he topped the scoring charts last season, but that might only add to the motivation of the home side in proving that they haven't been left too far behind.
The Robins remain an unknown quantity to many at this level but Turner at least has some experience to call upon from past encounters with Di Canio and the hosts are being written-off readily enough to warrant a leap of faith in him putting those recollections to good use.
Shrewsbury have already played four of the top six and given a good account of themselves on each occasion. If they meet those same standards on Saturday, it could reap full reward.
Betting advice: 1pt Shrewsbury to beat Swindon at 2/1 (Boylesports)
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