|view Kovár's match-by-match record
Replacing the excellent Steven Benda was always going to be a tough job, and Swindon’s budget had already put paid to one possible loan goalkeeper - Chelsea’s Nathan Baxter, who instead impressed at Accrington - when Town agreed to loan Czech keeper Kovár from Manchester United ahead of the 2020/21 season.
Kovár proved to be a very modern goalkeeper: exceptional with the ball at his feet and with distribution that would make many lower league midfielders envious, but with major deficiencies in fundamental goalkeeping areas like commanding a box and making saves, displaying a particular habit of being beaten at his near post. Over his time in Swindon, Kovár’s save percentage was barely over 58%, well short of the League One average, and combined with a defence that was very error prone, only one team in the division conceded more goals over the first half of the season.
When John Sheridan took over as Town manager in November, Kovár was immediately replaced by deputy Joe Fryer, but it quickly became clear why Wellens had not made that call earlier. Fryer did not have the footballing skill of Kovár, but also didn’t appear to be an improvement as a stopper - most notably conceding a comical first goal in a 3-0 against Accrington when he missed a routine clearance from a gentle pass back from Akin Odimayo.
Kovár was restored to the team for the visit of Bristol Rovers in which he kept his only clean sheet for Town, including a genuinely excellent save to deny Luke McCormick, and retained the gloves until the January transfer window when Town made it clear that they would seek an alternative. Kovár was recalled by Manchester United in January, having conceded 43 goals in 21 games for Town.
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