Crawley Town have signed defender Darren Ward on loan from Swindon until the end of the season.

Ward becomes interim manager Dean Saunders' first signing since taking over from John Gregory at the end of December.

The 36-year-old centre-back has not made a first team appearance for Swindon since last March but is expected to go straight into the Crawley side for Saturday's home game against MK Dons.

Saunders was desperate to bring in reinforcements at the back due to injuries to Dean Leacock and Ryan Dickson after having to play Marvin Elliott, Bobson Bawling and Lewis Young out of position in defence against Colchester.

Saunders said: “We only went into the game last week with one defender so I felt I had to do something really quickly before the next game and I’ve done that.

“Darren is a really experienced player and will be like a coach on the pitch which I felt we needed as we are a young outfit.

“Young players sometimes don’t know what decisions to make and experienced players know that. Having a voice at the back is vital for any team that wants to keep the ball out of the net.

“Darren played in the Premier League and played in a Cup final for Millwall so at his age he has learnt everything and seen everything.

“I’m not concerned he hasn’t played this season as he is a fitness fanatic and you are only as old as you feel.

“Age is a number when you are a footballer. Some players go when they are 30, some players can still play when they are 40.

“Obviously there will be things they can’t do. He wants to play 700 games (he has made 568 appearances at the moment) and I’m sure he’ll be a good acquisition for us.”

Ward has played more than 500 league games in a career which started at Watford and has also included spells at QPR, Millwall and Crystal Palace.

He joined Swindon two years ago and made 45 appearances for the Robins last season but has not been part of manager Mark Cooper's plans this year.