A look at how Swindon Town are shaping up ahead of the new season
The Robins were in and around the top ten throughout the 2013-14 season but ultimately missed out on the play-off places.
It was consistency that Swindon lacked with 19 wins and 18 defeats from their 46 league games. However, there were good signs for Swindon fans with Town having the third best record – behind Brentford and Wolves - on their own patch.
Finishing in eighth place the campaign included excellent wins over local rivals Bristol City, a 4-0 away victory at Rotherham and wins against both Preston and Brentford, but boss Mark Cooper will be hoping for a place in the play-offs this season.
THE MANAGER – MARK COOPER
A manager who has been in charge against Crawley on numerous occasions, Cooper was appointed Swindon boss at the start of last season following Kevin McDonald's departure. Cooper – son of former England international Terry – cut his teeth in management as player/boss at Tamworth between 2004 and 2007.
After leaving the Lambs he went on to take over at Kettering Town and after two years with the Poppies moved to Peterborough United for his first taste of Football League management.
He left London Road after just 13 games in charge of the Posh and dropped back into non-league later that year when he took over at Darlington. Spent a season with Darlo before taking in spells at Kettering Town – for a second stint - and AFC Telford United before joining Swindon.
As a player, Cooper represented a number of clubs including Exeter City, Hartlepool United, Birmingham City and Southend United after coming through the youth system at Bristol City.
VISITING THE GROUND?
The County Ground has been the home of Swindon Town since 1896 and can hold just under 16,000 spectators. Reds supporters will once again be housed in the west side of the Arkell's Stand, which is on the side of the pitch. This part of the ground can hold over 1,000 visiting fans.
SUMMER BUSINESS SO FAR
There have been plenty of departures at the County Ground this season whilst boss Cooper works hard to add reinforcements to his squad.
Last season's top scorer Nile Ranger has had his contract terminated following a topsy-turvy time in Wiltshire, whilst Jay McEveley, Dany N'Guessan and Lee Cox were three of ten on the club's released list. Troy Archibald-Henville has joined Carlisle on a free transfer and forward Miles Storey has signed for Portsmouth on a season-long loan deal.
The club are working on a deal to bring Jack Stephens back on loan from Southampton but Nathan Thompson could be moving to the Championship, with Leeds United interested in the defender.
THEY PLAYED FOR BOTH
Strikers Nicky Ajose, Gary Alexander Elliot Benyon and Leon Clarke have all had loan spells with both clubs.
Others to have represented both teams include Luke Rooney and current Swindon full back Nathan Byrne. Ex-Crawley goalkeeper Phil Smith is another to have played for Swindon – spending six years in Wiltshire.
Crawley took on Swindon twice during our epic FA Cup run that ended at Manchester United in the 2010-11 season. The first game at the Checkatrade.com Stadium ended 1-1 after Matt Tubbs' equaliser cancelled out Charlie Austin's second half strike. In the replay at the County Ground, a five-goal thriller ended in Crawley earning a 3-2 victory thanks to Ben Smith's winner in extra time.
Smith had originally given us the lead but Swindon battled back through J-P McGovern and then Austin before Glenn Wilson equalised prior to Smith's 118th minute goal.
In 2011-12 with both teams in League Two, Reds suffered two 3-0 defeats to Swindon and it was the same scoreline in Wilshire in our maiden League One season before we earned a point against Paulo Di Canio's men in one of his final matches in charge.
Last season saw Crawley draw twice with Swindon – 0-0 at home, in Richie Barker's final game as Reds' boss – and 1-1 in the corresponding fixture, with Matt Tubbs grabbing a late equaliser.
WHAT THE BOOKIES THINK
Swindon Town are 8/1 with Sky Bet to win promotion from League One in 2014-15.