|view McGovern's match-by-match record
A wide-midfield player signed on a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee from Milton Keynes Dons, just two hours before the transfer deadline in August 2007, McGovern made his Town debut in a 4-1 Johnstone's Paint Trophy win over Brentford in early September with an impressive performance. He made his league debut from the substitute's bench the following weekend, in a televised clash with Yeovil - missing a good chance as the Town lost 1-0 - but he made amends in his next game, scoring a sublime chip at Hartlepool to rescue a point.
Though McGovern was perhaps not the pacy wideman the fans were expecting, he linked well with fellow new signing Miguel Comminges on the Town's right flank, supplying accurate crosses and set-pieces to the Town's forwards. After his arrival, McGovern featured in all but one of the Town's games, with seven appearances from the substitute's bench - his only absence from the side coming at the end of February, when a calf injury ruled him out of a trip to Oldham. By this point, new boss Maurice Malpas had started to utilise McGovern as a more defensive central midfielder - hoping to utilise McGovern's ball-playing and distribution skills in this new position. This move coincided with a series of bad results, and eventually McGovern was moved back - four wins from the last six games ensuring a mid-table finish - though McGovern ended the season covering at right back in the final game.
When Malpas first attempted to sign Kevin Betsy, and eventually signed Mark Marshall from Eastleigh, it appeared though McGovern would have to fight for his starting place in the side the following season. Though he responded with a good performance, an assist and a goal in the season's opener against Tranmere, with the Town struggling for results, McGovern soon found himself in and out of the side - often either replaced with the pacy Marshall as the Town looked for a goal, or relegated to the bench as Malpas utilised the more defensive minded Craig Easton on the right.
It was October before Malpas gave McGovern an uninterrupted run in the side - a run that was ended when Malpas was sacked in November. After a poor performance in an embarrassing FA Cup defeat at non-League Histon, McGovern also played in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy defeat at Brighton that cost Malpas his job, and when caretaker David Byrne rang the changes for his first match in charge, McGovern was one of those that made way. When he did return two games later, he marked his comeback with an own goal in a 2-2 draw with Peterborough, but kept his place right through until the end of January, a period when new manager Danny Wilson took charge.
When Wilson brought Hal Robson-Kanu to the club on loan, at first he utilised him on the left side, keeping McGovern on the right. Soon though, with the return to form of Anthony McNamee, Robson-Kanu was moved to the right side, and McGovern found himself completely out of the squad in early February, and after an ankle injury, he was out of the picture for over two months. After returning to the subs' bench in mid-April, McGovern admitted that he may need to leave the club to find regular first team football, before lining up as a wing-back for the final game of the season at Peterborough, as Wilson experimented with a 3-5-2 formation.
The 2009/10 season though proved to be a complete change of fortune for McGovern in a Town shirt. After being named as a substitute for the opening game of the season at Gillingham, Wilson told McGovern he could leave the club on loan - but a 5-0 defeat prompted a recall to the side for a Carling Cup clash at MK Dons. The Town won the match 4-1, McGovern opening the scoring with a forty yard effort over an absent goalkeeper - and it proved to be the start of a much improved run of form for McGovern - with the Town playing a more fluid style that suited McGovern’s style of play, he went on to be ever-present for the rest of the campaign, as the Town narrowly missed out on promotion - his workrate, creativity and set-piece delivery proving vital - and he won the SAS Away Player of the Year award, as well as finishing second in both the Adver and Supporters’ Club awards. He was also rewarded with a two year extension to his contract.
Unfortunately, McGovern could not recreate his form of the previous season during the 2010/11 campaign. After starting every game in August and September, he was dropped to the bench after a 3-2 defeat at home to Plymouth, only to gain his place back the following weekend. As Wilson's side struggled, McGovern's inconsistent form saw him in and out of the side - after a spell on the sidelines in November, he returned with back-to-back goals against Sheffield Wednesday and Crawley in the cup - after a weather-hit Christmas period though, he was back on the bench at the start of the new year. With Paul Caddis sometimes being preferred on the right side of midfield, McGovern found himself in and out of the side for the rest of the season - with the Town struggling at the bottom of the table, Wilson was sacked at the end of February - new boss Paul Hart kept McGovern in for his first two games, then dropped him for four crucial matches. By this time, Swindon were deep in relegation trouble, and McGovern was to make just five more appearances for the Town - sitting out the defeat at former club Sheffield Wednesday that put the final nail in the Town's League One coffin.
In the close season, when interim chairman Jeremy Wray told players they could leave if they didn't want to play in League Two, McGovern took the opportunity to move back north - after originally being linked with Danny Wilson's new club Sheffield United, he eventually signed for Carlisle on a two year deal after negotiating an early release from his contract at Swindon.
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