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Swindon Town v Manchester City – The Opposition

A Look Ahead at City’s FA Cup Opponents

Manchester City v Watford - FA Cup Final Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

The magic of the FA Cup arrives this weekend, and our beloved blues will kickstart it all off with a trip to League Two high-flyers Swindon Town.

It will be the first time City have faced the Robins since their 2002 FA Cup tie at Maine Road which City won 2-0, and the blues first visit to Wiltshire since April 2000, when City also won 2-0 at the County Ground.

Form

Swindon go into the match on an erratic run of form. Their 5-2 home win over Northampton Town at the weekend was their first home win in the league since 23rd November, when they beat Hartlepool United 3-1. Since then, they have won just one of their last six matches in all competitions

Their form has seen the Robins fall eleven points behind leaders Forest Green Rovers, however, they are only three points off second placed Northampton. Swindon have scored thirty-five goals in the league so far, which is the joint fourth highest, but have conceded twenty-six, the second worst defence in the top six.

Swindon entered the competition at the 1st round stage, an overcame away matches at Crewe Alex (0-3) and Walsall (1-2) to set up the third-round tie with the blues. It is the first time the Robins have reached the 3rd round since 2012, when they beat Wigan Athletic to progress to the 4th round.

Danger Men

Tyreece Simpson is Swindon’s top scorer going into the match. He has scored ten goals from twenty-five matches in all competitions and has attempted thirty-nine shots. He has a goal conversion rate of 26%. Harry McKirdy, who scored four against Northampton, has helped himself to nine from twenty matches, and has the highest number of shots with forty-eight.

Jonathan Williams will be the one to watch if he plays. Although he has attempted just six shots, three of those have hit the back of the goal, a goal conversion rate of 50%, and a shot accuracy of 83%, both of which are the highest in the Swindon line-up

Assists have fallen to McKirdy. He has four from his twenty matches and created sixteen chances. However, Jack Payne has created the most opportunities for his teammates with forty-five from twenty-five matches, but just two have been converted.

The player with the highest number of passes is Louise Reed with 1,506. With 1,302 completed from twenty-three matches, his pass accuracy is 86%. That’s the second highest in the team, having been beaten by 1% by Dion Conroy, who has 1085 completed passes from twenty matches.

Who’s the Boss?

Ben Garner is the gaffer at the County Ground and has been in charge since July. He has presided over twenty-nine matches, winning fifteen and losing just six, a win percentage of almost 52%. He was previously in charge at Bristol Rovers for eleven months, and has Premier League experience with Crystal Palace, where he worked under Ian Holloway, Tony Pulis, Neil Warnock and Alan Pardew.

Played for Both

One of the most notable players to star for both teams was the legend that is Mike ‘Buzzer’ Summerbee. Buzzer spent six seasons at Swindon, making 244 appearances and scoring forty goals before moving north.

At Maine Road, Summerbee made 452 appearances over ten seasons, scoring sixty-eight goals, lifted the First Division title, FA Cu, League cup and European Cup Winners Cup in a glorious era for the club and player.

Buzzer’s son, Nicky, followed his father’s footsteps in 1994 and spent three seasons at Maine Road. Following City’s demise and fall into the lower divisions, Nicky left to join Sunderland in a swap deal involving Craig Russell.