RICHIE Wellens granted players and himself four days off last weekend when Swindon Town were without a fixture as a result of their early exit in the FA Cup.

Most members of the squad used the time to enjoy some winter sun, while Wellens himself escaped his phone-orientated, motorway driving, management lifestyle ahead of what will undoubtedly be a relentless festive period.

Seven League Two games will be played in the next 28 days – the first four occurring against teams currently positioned in the bottom half of the table.

Although Town sit top of the league table, they have accumulated only six points from their nine fixtures against teams placed in the top half of the division.

Similarly, though, a maximum 30 points out of 30 have been registered from games against teams in the bottom half.

Tomorrow’s trip to Grimsby Town and next weekend’s visit of Oldham Athletic, therefore, will be met with great expectation by supporters.

Wellens said: “We didn’t want to rest, because we were going well – we wanted another game. But you have to take what you can get out of it.

“Around Christmas time, we’ve got four games in nine days. There are going to be times when we’re tired and not quite at it.

“It’s important when you do get the time to rest, you make the most of it. Some players got some sun, and we all managed to switch off.

“I turned my phone off and didn’t really speak about football for three or four days. It’s a mental rest.

“I checked the FA Cup results. Other than that, I totally switched off.

“Every day, you’re constantly taking calls and engaging with people while making sure players are OK.”

Saturday’s starting XI is expected to be similar, if not identical, to the side Wellens put out when Mansfield Town were beaten 1-0 at SN1 a fortnight ago.

Conscious that fringe players must also be kept happy to retain a positive atmosphere in the changing room, Wellens discussed the energy-sapping nature of pleasing those who are short of game time.

He said: “When players are performing well, you want to ensure that confidence remains high. But at the same time, you’re aware you have to look after players that aren’t quite in the team.

“It’s energy-sapping mentally. It’s important to take yourself away from it at times.”