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MATCH PREVIEW: Barrow vs Swindon Town

Town head to Cumbria this weekend as they look to topple Bluebirds…

16 December 2022

Club News

MATCH PREVIEW: Barrow vs Swindon Town

Town head to Cumbria this weekend as they look to topple Bluebirds…

16 December 2022

It’s a swift return to League Two action this weekend for Swindon as they look to end a winless run with an away trip to Barrow.

Just two points separate the two sides heading into the clash, with Town knowing a victory could see them move up to fourth with other results going their way.

Here’s our preview ahead of the game tomorrow, which gets underway at 3pm.

Some Barrow background…

Barrow joined the Football League in 1921 having initially spent time playing in the Lancashire Combination.

They remained in the bottom level of the competition until 1967 when they achieved promotion to the Third Division by finishing third in the fourth tier.

The Bluebirds highest league placing was during the 1967/68 campaign, when they finished eighth in the Third Division, however, things didn’t quite go so well for the Cumbrian side after that, and by the end of the 1971/72 season, the club was voted out of the Football League altogether in the re-election process.

They would go on to spend 48 seasons in the top two levels of the non-league pyramid, with five relegations and promotions to the Alliance Premier League (now known as the Conference and National League), of which they were a founding member in 1979.

On the cup front, Barrow have won non-league football’s most prestigious cup competition, the FA Trophy, on two occasions in 1990 and 2010.

To date, Barrow are the only club to have been promoted back to the Football League having previously lost their league place via the re-election process.

Previous meetings…

There’s only ever been six meetings between Barrow and Swindon, and just the two showdowns in League Two, which came last season.

Both sides recorded a win each last term, with The Bluebirds winning the first clash in December 2021 courtesy of a 2-0 victory at Holker Street.

Two penalties decided the tie in that one as Dion Conroy saw red at the end of the game.

The return tie at The County Ground saw Swindon claim bragging rights in April this year, as goals from Josh Davison and Louis Reed five minutes from time earned the hosts all three points.

It’s then a journey back in time to 1969, where the pair met in League Division Three.

Town won both those games that season in February and May, 3-0 and 2-0 respectively.

The previous two ties before that came in 1967 in September, with the first ending 1-1 and Barrow winning 1-0 at SN1.

The Stadium…

The SO Legal Stadium, or Holker Street as it’s more commonly known, holds 5,400 fans at full capacity.

The stadiums record attendance was 16,874 for an FA Cup third round match against Swansea City back in 1954.

As well as being a football ground, Holker Street has also been used for motorcycle speedway and once had squash courts and leisure centre facilities before they were demolished.

Barrow have played at their home since 1909. 

Barrow’s season so far…

Considering Barrow narrowly avoided relegation from League Two last season, finishing six points clear of the drop zone in 22nd place, they’ve enjoyed an impressive campaign so far this term.

Pete Wild’s side currently sit fourth after twenty games, and are chasing Northampton Town above them in the third with just five points the difference at present.

Eleven league wins thus far have contributed to their success, and things started well with four wins from their opening five League Two matches.

However, they head into the Swindon game off the back of a dip in form, which has seen them win just once in their last five matches in all competitions.

Their last League Two encounter saw them beaten 5-0 by Stevenage at the beginning of the month.

The run has also seen them knocked out of the FA Cup and EFL Trophy.

The manager: Pete Wild…

The 38-year-old took over as Barrow boss at the end of May this year after announcing his resignation from FC Halifax Town just 24-hours before.

Wild played amateur football during his playing days and never reached professional level, and began his coaching career with Oldham Athletic’s academy while also working as development officer at the Manchester FA.

After working for the club for ten years, including a spell as their interim academy manager, Wild was appointed Oldham’s caretaker boss at the end of December 2018 following the sacking of Frankie Bunn.

In January 2019, he led the club to a famous FA Cup victory over Premier League side Fulham – his third straight win as manager.

In March 2019, following the resignation of another Oldham boss, Paul Scholes, Wild returned as caretaker once again and was appointed the clubs permanent manager shortly after until the end of the season, eventually leaving for ‘personal reasons.’

Key players…

Centre-forward Josh Gordon has been Barrow’s prime source of goals this season with ten to his name so far, with braces coming against Newport and Crewe.

Billy Waters has also been amongst the goals for The Bluebirds, notching seven this season.

However, it’s in midfield Pete Wild’s side possess a dangerous weapon in the shape of former AFC Bournemouth and Port Vale playmaker Ben Whitfield.

He’s recorded four goals and nine assists so far, meaning Town will need to close out the threat he poses.

Left-back Patrick Brough is also a danger with some confident displays this term.

Midfielder Josh Kay and right-back Tyrell Warren are also capable of causing opposition teams some issues.

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