During a disappointing season in 2015-16, one of the few bright lights for Swindon Town was striker Nicky Ajose. The 24 year old scored 22 league goals and played a large part in helping The Robins avoid relegation. Given the lack of money at the club, which makes the likelihood of the side challenging for promotion this season very low, it was widely expected that Ajose would move on in the summer in an attempt to further his career.
Therefore, it was no surprise when he did finally move. Ajose left Swindon for recently relegated Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee, a side that will definitely be expected to challenge at the top of the League One table, and no matter what one thinks of the state of the ownership of the club, Charlton are definitely in a better position to gain promotion than Swindon are at present.
So now, shorn of their top goalscorer from last season, the prospects for the 2016-17 season for Swindon are looking a bit grim. The only proven striker at the club is Jon Obika, who scored 10 goals in the league in 2015-16, the most in a single season that he has achieved. He has also made noises about wanting to leave the club, and earlier in the summer refused an extension to his contract that expires in 2017. Question marks might remain as to his commitment to the cause, and it remains to be seen whether he can make the step up to being the club’s key striker, given his less-than-impressive goalscoring record so far in his career.
The only other senior striker at the club is Jermaine Hylton, a man who has underwhelmed since being brought out of non-league 18 months ago. Hylton is still young and will only be entering his second full season as a professional, but his return of one league goal in 32 appearances does not suggest that he has what it takes to step up and score the goals that Swindon will need him to if they are to survive relegation, let alone challenge the top half of the table.
Whether or not both Obika and Hylton will be able to step up to the challenge that faces them this season, it is clear that Swindon will have to strengthen in the forward area as the only other striker at the club is the nineteen-year-old Josh Cooke, who spent parts of last season on loan at Gloucester City.
The thing is, with the lack of money at the club, there are question marks about who Swindon can afford to bring in. The Chairman, Lee Power, is well known for his hard-line stance on transfers, and he is not a man who will pay over the odds for players. Whilst he has stated that he will buy players if a good deal comes along, and only at the right price, movement in the transfer market has so far been slow, particularly with regards to strikers.
With the changes in rules regarding loan players coming into force this season, Swindon will not be able to rely so heavily on loan players this year. Therefore, the club will have to shell out on signing some players on permanent deals whether the club’s hierarchy likes it or not.
With that in mind, here are three potential forwards that Swindon might look to sign before the transfer window shuts (and bear in mind, the pickings are slim when you have no money).