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An England under-17 and under-19 international, Holmes was signed originally on a month's loan from Derby County at the end of December 2004. He made his Swindon debut on Boxing Day in a 2-0 win at Peterborough United, providing natural width and pace on the left wing.
Holmes impressed during his time at the County Ground, picking up many man-of-the-match awards - but being only seventeen years of age, he was unable to drink the bottles of champagne awarded to him! Manager Andy King looked after the champagne for him, but only agreed to return them to Holmes on the condition that he signed an extension to his loan period - and after Derby boss George Burley agreed, Holmes extended his stay to the maximum three months allowed for a short term loan.
During this period, Holmes also gained further international recognition, scoring for the England under-19 side from a twice-taken free-kick in a friendly away to Belgium in February. Shortly afterwards, he netted his first and only goal for the Town, an early goal at Doncaster putting Swindon 1-0 up in a game they later went on to draw 1-1.
His last game came in mid-March, when he helped the Town fight back from 2-0 down to win 4-2 at home to Wrexham - Holmes left having made 16 appearances for Swindon - the impact he had made during his spell made apparent when he won the Supporter's Trust's Young Player of the Year award.
Over the coming seasons, Holmes returned to torment the Town on more than one occasion - netting twice for Walsall in their 3-0 win at the County Ground in 2008 and helping Southampton to a 3-1 win a 2011 Carling Cup tie, before masterminding a 2-0 victory for Oxford in March 2012, assisting both goals in the local derby. The latter performance obviously impressed Town boss Paolo di Canio - a week later, with Oxford set to seal an extension to his loan deal, Oxford boss Chris Wilder stated that Holmes "told us he doesn't want to go unless it's a real big club that comes in for him" - two days after that, di Canio nipped in to snatch his signature, with both parties seemingly open to making the move permanent at the end of the season.
Holmes made his second Town debut as a second half substitute in a 2-0 defeat at Crewe, his full debut coming three days later, in a important promotion clash with Torquay, which the Town won 2-0. With regular left winger Luke Rooney cup-tied, Holmes' third game was the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final at Wembley - though he came close to scoring and was the Town's main threat in the first half, Swindon succumbed to a 2-0 defeat.
Over the next six weeks, Holmes was an integral part of the side that clinched promotion - and though he didn't look as comfortable when injury to Matt Ritchie saw him switch over to the right flank for much of April, it was from this position that he netted his first goal of his second spell - a cross-cum-shot that proved to be the winner against Northampton. As Swindon sealed promotion to League One at the first attempt, di Canio made no secret that he wanted to keep Holmes on a permanent deal - but Holmes instead joined Preston North End, with Swindon not willing to match the six-figure signing-on fee and a wage that would have made him the Town's highest earner.
date of birth