Football League Expert & Columnist
Peter Beagrie previews weekend's Football League games
An influx of Tottenham stars is having a positive impact on League One Swindon, says Peter Beagrie.
Last Updated: 06/09/13 3:04pm
The Dons had a disappointing time last season, not footballing-wise but in terms of being ruthless and finishing the chances that their creative prowess produced.
However, I spoke to their bright, young manager Karl Robinson and he told me not to write off his team's play-off chances and they very nearly made the top six, missing out by just four points.
And after making some welcome additions this season, including re-signing loan ranger Patrick Bamford of Chelsea, the Dons have started well and are unbeaten in the league after five games.
The Robins, though, have been buoyed by some tremendous results and a new injection of cash, and while it would be a bit much to call them Tottenham's nursery team, the set of Spurs loanees and former White Hart Lane players they have are doing tremendously well, including midfielder Massimo Luongo, who has signed on a permanent deal for £400,000.
The fact that Swindon can spend that sort of money shows they are in a better financial state than when they were forced to sell Matt Ritchie to Bournemouth, which resulted in Paolo Di Canio walking out and the club not getting promotion when they seemed on course for it.
Mark Cooper also has Nile Ranger at his disposal, a lad Alan Shearer spoke very highly of in the past.
When Shearer managed Ranger at Newcastle he said he was quick, strong and brilliant in the air - but it seems that the lad must have a flaw in character.
If he didn't, he wouldn't be playing at the level he is, but you hope Swindon could be the wake-up call for him and that the penny drops and he reignites his career.
There are few other games this weekend that have caught my eye, including...
ROTHERHAM v SHEFFIELD UNITED
David Weir has brought in lots of new recruits and when we saw Sheffield United beat Notts County in the opening game of the Football League season on Sky Sports they looked to be playing a more fluid passing game and attacking with a bit more pace, with Callum McFadzean, Jamie Murphy and Lyle Taylor in their ranks.
That optimism seemed to wane a bit with the sale of Kevin McDonald to rivals Wolves, but has come back again with Abdullah bin Musa'ed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud - or Prince as I am going to call him - buying a 50 per cent stake in the club and things are now looking up.
The Blades have now brought in a couple more players in the shape of Florent Cuvelier and Harry Bunn (pictured) and that is a real boost for the United faithful who continue to follow their club in great numbers - but the club's players won't have it easy against the Millers.
Rotherham manager Steve Evans is very experienced and always seem to get a few bob out of every chairman he works under, and he has brought in players he knows to augment his squad this season.
Matt Tubbs, who Evans worked with at Crawley, has joined on loan from Bournemouth and forms part of a plethora of striking talent that also includes Kayode Odejayi, while Rotherham also have defender Pablo Mills back at the club.
Evans' boys will be looking to complete a Sheffield double after beating Wednesday in the Capital One Cup and it will be a game with a big crowd and plenty of passion.
I suspect the referee will need to sharpen his pencil halfway through because of the number of fierce tackles, and require a new pea in his whistle at the end of the match with the fans' fervour replicated on the pitch.
BURTON v OXFORD
The business that Gary Rowett has done over the summer has been very good as he tries to replace the goals and guile of Jacques Maghoma, and Rene Howe looks a great acquisition as he leads the line well and knows his way to goal.
Oxford, meanwhile, are managed by Chris Wilder, who used to be my boot boy and knows the leagues, including the Conference, inside out and that helps him pick up some very good players like Alfie Potter, who has started really well this year.
Potter (pictured) is someone who can light things up in the final third and plays in a team with lots of resolve and experience and a smattering of youth. Wilder managed to complete the vast majority of his transfer dealings early and that time gelling in pre-season has been key.
The infrastructure is there at Oxford and the continuity - Wilder has been in charge since 2008 - is serving them well and they currently sit in the lofty heights of second place behind everybody's favourites Chesterfield, who face Accrington this weekend.
CHESTERFIELD v ACCRINGTON
After five games of the League Two season, there is a 12-point gap between top-of-the-table Chestefield and rock-bottom Accrington - and that difference is only going to get bigger as the season goes on.
The Spireites have a bigger fan-base than Stanley, a plush new ground and big budget and they have purchased players who are tried and tested and can guarantee you a good performance, such as former Ipswich and Huddersfield player Gary Roberts (pictured), who is already lighting things up.
There are signs that James Beattie can motivate his Accrington side.
He has given his young players a lot of responsibility and Kal Naismith looked great in the Sky Live game with Portsmouth - but that has been an isolated incident.
It is hard to convince people things will get better when you have lost five games in a row without scoring, as they have done following the JPT defeat to Crewe.
James has had to beg, steal and borrow to supplement his squad and will be relieved when the loan window re-opens next week so he can try to get more players in.