Swindon Supermarine face arguably their biggest game of the season this Saturday when they host second in the table Salisbury writes Nick Taylor.
In a game dubbed by some as ‘North v South Wiltshire’, Steve Claridge’s high flying side arrive at The Webbs Wood Stadium looking to bounce back quickly from an uncharacteristic defeat away to Didcot Town on Tuesday night, losing 1-3, having thumped in-form Yate Town, 6-2, last Saturday at The Ray Mac Stadium.
Marine’s interim manager Lee Spalding has worked well to make his side harder to beat since taking over from Dave Webb and comes into the game on a run of four games unbeaten, most recently last Saturday’s gritty 0-0 at Didcot, though with fierce competition for places in the play-offs needs to turn draws into wins if they are to stay up with the contenders for promotion, having seen his team drop to eighth place on 46 points, some 10 points behind visitors Salisbury.
Speaking ahead of the contest, Spalding emphasised the importance of the fixture, “It’s three points up for grabs, but it’s a massive three points for where we are in the season and where we are in the league. The league is so tight, you’re playing for every single point. Steve Claridge will be looking for a reaction from his players, I watched the game at Didcot on Tuesday night and I expect them to be a lot better than they were then!”
Marine ran out winners back on Tuesday 24th September when a Ryan Cambell second half strike and George Kellow’s injury time finish gave Marine a rather fortuity victory at The Ray Mac Stadium, having seen the Whites squander many chances with the woodwork rescuing the visitors several times as well.
Salisbury boast the most away wins in the league to date (10) as well as being top scorers (73 goals) and clearly revel in road trips away from the pressures of having one of the biggest playing budgets in the league and the highly vociferous crowds at home, where their form has been inconsistent at times, most recently losing to lowly Barnstaple Town.
With an excellent record on their recent visits to Swindon, Spalding is under no illusions at to what his squad needs to do on Saturday, “ Salisbury are one of the better sides in the league, along with Taunton. Going forward they have loads of quality. They’re very good at hitting teams on the break. We are going to have to be fully on our mettle and make sure we do everything properly to stop them scoring. We’ve got the capability to score goals but need to be tight and maintain that we’re hard to beat. However, defensively though, that’s where we can catch them!”
Winger Ryan Campbell remains an injury doubt, though full back Jon Else returned to training this week and may be included in the squad.