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The youthful defender caught Swindon Town by surprise. In the summer of 2020, after winning the League Two title after three years in the fourth division, Swindon Town were preparing to compete in the forthcoming League One season.

The Robins brought in several new faces to help them survive in the third tier, including Brett Pitman, Diallang Jaiyesimi, and Jonathan Grounds.

While Swindon couldn’t avoid relegation to League Two, one summer signing in particular surprised Town fans with his ability, ambition, and consistency.

The recruitment of 20-year-old released Reading starlet Akin Odimayo was first viewed as a long-term signing who would be eased into regular football; nonetheless, the defender took the Robins by surprise.

Odimayo made an excellent start to life at Swindon

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On his professional league debut, the teenage defender was named to the starting lineup when Town met Rochdale at the County Ground for their first game of the season.

Swindon overcame the Dale 3-1 on the first day of the season, but Richie Wellens’ team lost six of their following eight league matches before the manager was removed of his duties.

Odimayo went on to play 34 games for Town in his first season, impressing with his tackling and ball-handling abilities.

Odimayo’s consistent performances earned him the Player of the Year award


While it was undoubtedly a difficult season for Town, as they lost 29 of their 46 league matches on their way back to the fourth level, Odimayo’s performances earned him much of praise.

An injury forced the ex-Hungerford Town player to miss all of Swindon’s final seven games of the season, during which John Sheridan’s team allowed 20 goals and lost five of those seven to confirm their relegation.
Odimayo’s gritty and composed performances at such a young age were recognised by the Swindon faithful, who rewarded the youngster with the 2020/21 Supporters’ Player of the Year award, which is even more impressive given Swindon’s torrid defensive record of 89 goals conceded in 46 league matches.

The Robins missed out on survival by four points, while Northampton Town and Bristol Rovers were demoted alongside them.

Swindon rewarded Odimayo with a new contract, but his long-term future lay elsewhere.
The defender signed a one-year contract extension with the Robins in August 2021, and he went on to play 42 games in all competitions as Swindon ended in the play-offs, including a 4-1 FA Cup defeat to Manchester City at the County Ground. However, his long-term future lay away from Swindon.

Odimayo left the Robins in the summer of 2022 to join Northampton, where he played 22 games in an injury-plagued debut season. The defender appeared in 32 League One matches last season, helping Northampton finish 11th in the third division.

While the defender’s stay at the County Ground was brief, he made a mark on the Robins as one of their most unexpectedly effective signings in recent years.

The Robins are currently struggling in League Two and may benefit from a defender like Odimayo to steer them back up the division.

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