THERE are 90 days and 17 games to the end of the season – but are City already done?

That was the sobering thought after the campaign hit another low point with a wilting display in Wiltshire.

The online discontent against Stefan Rupp and the direction of the club hit the mainstream as the frustrated away fans chanted for the German to go.

Who would match the high price said to be wanted by the owner and take over remains a question that none of them could answer.

As the saying goes, there is no long queue of wannabe investors lining up patiently along Manningham Lane. Not even a short one.

But the anger from the corner of the stand highlighted the helplessness many supporters are starting to feel about the club’s direction right now.

The trajectory continues to be downward after a seventh league game without a victory. That six-game winning run seems a lifetime ago, not a month.

Tuesday’s Bristol Street Motors Trophy quarter-final with fellow fall guys Doncaster, fresh from being slapped 5-1 at home by leaders Stockport, has suddenly become season-defining.

Scoff all you like about the competition but it appears all or nothing for City right now.

Win and they are 90 minutes from a jolly boys’ outing to Wembley – defeat and you can’t see much if anything to look forward to over the next three months.

Another nothing league season is the depressingly grim prospect; that pre-Christmas burst aside, there has been precious little for anyone to get excited about.

Hence the black mood off the pitch and talk of protests against the club hierarchy.

A meeting to consider a potential plan of action among fans had already been called for tomorrow night prior to yesterday’s no-show at Swindon.

The reappearance of Jake Young should have helped to mend a bit of the sense of disconnect.

The “in the know” brigade had packed the striker’s bags weeks ago and confidently predicted that he would never kick a ball in a City shirt again.

Wrong; there he was summoned from the bench at the ground where he had scored 10 of his 16 goals during those halcyon loan days with Swindon.

Unfortunately, a major rescue act from the deep hole City had dug themselves proved beyond the substitute but he showed enough, including one well-fashioned attempt that was saved, to suggest he still has the stomach to battle for his club.

But given the malaise around him, the return of the prodigal son was consigned to a footnote in the bigger story.

Where do City go from here?

The gap to the play-offs, which now sits at eight points, looks insurmountable barring another flurry of victories like they managed before.

Given current form, that seems verging on an impossible ask.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Dawson Devoy scores Swindon's second before half-timeDawson Devoy scores Swindon's second before half-time (Image: Thomas Gadd)

The prospect of watching them tick off the games between now and the league finale against Newport on April 27 is far from appealing.

But that’s where we are right now unless there is a dramatic shift.

Four points from a possible 21 has confirmed City’s place among the division’s also-rans.

They have even slipped below Tranmere, who were second from bottom the night they finished off Mark Hughes in October.

There are no excuses for yesterday. Swindon were on an even worse run with six defeats in eight, no manager and losing players for fun in the window.

Young’s exit had been compounded with the departure of his partner-in-crime Dan Kemp, recalled by MK Dons, as well as three other first-team regulars.

Michael Flynn had seen enough after their last game, leaving Gavin Gunning – the Swindon equivalent of Mark Trueman – once more holding the fort for a third time.

They are also a club with genuine off-the-field issues.

Owner Clem Morfuni, an Australian plumber, has denied they are up for sale after the EFL charged them with breaching the rules over transferring shares – a desperate move to help Swindon clear a debt of almost £3 million and avoid slipping into administration.

Swindon were ripe for the picking. Or so they should have been.

Instead, City served up one of the flattest first halves imaginable to hand the initiative to their hosts on a plate.

Too ponderous at the back, too easily exposed out wide, too wasteful in possession and set-pieces and too ineffective going forward. You name it, they couldn’t do it.

Graham Alexander had dropped Jon Tomkinson but that left a back three running in treacle at times.

With Tyreik Wright injured after his start against Salford, in hindsight probably asking too much from a player with such little recent game time, Tyler Smith’s return up front offered nothing.

But you could go through the team and see players way off their game. Alexander’s treble sub at the break could have included anyone in an outfield shirt.

The signs were there from the off as City made another stumbling start.

Swindon, featuring four new faces, were allowed to grow in confidence before the penalty opener.

Then Rushian Hepburn-Murphy received the ball in far too much space, four white shirts around him doing nothing to close him down.

He laid the ball in behind for Paul Glatzel who went down in a tangle with the badly-positioned Ciaran Kelly.

Charlie Austin smacked the spot-kick past Sam Walker and City were chasing yet again.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Andy Cook had only one chance and was subbed at half-timeAndy Cook had only one chance and was subbed at half-time (Image: Thomas Gadd)

Not that they ever threatened to catch up. Andy Cook had one header that flew straight at keeper Jack Bycroft but otherwise got nothing out of his 45 minutes before he was gone.

But the game was pretty much up by the interval after Swindon struck again in added time.

Again, City were opened up too easily by Austin’s pass from halfway. Glatzel eased away from the lumbering Taylor, cut back inside the sliding Sam Stubbs and set up Dawson Devoy for a simple finish.

Young was summoned for the second half along with the fit-again Lewis Richards and Harry Chapman.

There was a slight improvement all round with their arrival without the sense of a comeback ever being on the cards.

Young got into the game once City stopped bombarding balls around his head and showed an alertness to work a shooting position which Bycroft did well to deny.

That was a glimmer of hope to hang on to on the long journey home. Let’s face it, right now we’ll take anything.

That Trophy tie, even if there may only be a few thousand bothering to turn up and watch, could not be bigger.