The Swindon game is proving to be something of a godsend. OK, it is important and we do want to win it. But it’s also an opportunity for Danny Hylton to sit out a game without it having any impact on our promotion campaign (I mean, we all know this right? We are now in a promotion campaign).
Having banked six points from two away games, including an unreasonably in-form Accrington, it would be easy to think of next week’s home game against Wimbledon (in 13th) as another banker. We are hopelessly optimistic like this. But for a club like Oxford, complacency has always been a curse.
Some have talked about the distraction of the Swindon game, but I think it could prove to be just the right kind of distraction. In addition to Hylton’s Suspension of Convenience, it’s a big pile of cash that the club wouldn’t have budgeted for.
And, it breaks up the sequence of league games between the two wins in the north and next week’s Wimbledon game. If it weren’t there, we’d probably spend all week convincing ourselves of how easy it was going to be. And, if history tells us anything, we’d probably fluff it.
A promotion will prove a major step forward for the club, whereas a win against Swindon will be a fun night but not much more. So, if you want to think of it as our cup final, the phrase of derision their fans level at us, then why the hell not? It’s a one-off game we’d love to win just for the glory. If we lose, it’ll be bitter, but not fatal and will help us recognise our own mortality and the hard work and focus needed to get three points against Wimbledon. I suppose we could be thanking Swindon for helping us keep our promotion charge on track.