Cooper expects tough Stevenage test

Stevenage conceded seven goals without reply against Swindon Town in two matches last season

Stevenage conceded seven goals without reply against Swindon Town in two matches last season - Credit: Archant

Swindon caretaker boss believes his players must win individual battles to take all three points

Mark Cooper says taking on Stevenage in Sky Bet League 1 tomorrow (Saturday) will be a ‘thorough test’ for his Swindon Town side.

Cooper, who is currently in a caretaker manager capacity at the County Ground, knows Graham Westley and Stevenage well from his non-league days managing Kettering Town.

He told the Swindon Advertiser that his players must win their individual battles on the pitch to take the three points.

“There’s certainly no right way and no wrong way to play football. There are no rules to say how you can and can’t play. Anyone who’s played against Graham Westley’s teams will know how fit, how robust and how organised and difficult to beat they are,” Cooper said.

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“I’ve seen a couple of bits from their first two games and they’ve played some decent football as well. “Make no mistake about Saturday, it will be a thorough test for us.

“They are going to ask questions of us in every department - physically, mentally - and we have to stand up to that.

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“There are two sides to a game - you have to win a physical battle and you have to win the football battle. We have to make sure we get both sides right, but Stevenage will be a tough team to play against.

“You have to win enough personal battles to earn the space to play in. We’ve done that so far, we have to do it again on Saturday.”

Ryan Mason, currently on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, will miss the game with a hamstring injury, while Louis Thompson is a doubt after the midfielder suffered cramp in both calves at the end of Swindon’s 1-0 win over Torquay on Tuesday.

Alex Pritchard, also on loan from Spurs, picked up a knock in the same game and could also be a doubt while Andy Williams is set to lead the line.

Likely Swindon line-up (4-2-3-1): Foderingham; Nathan Thompson, Hall, Ward, Byrne; Harley, Kasim; Reis, Luongo, Pritchard; Williams. Subs: Bedwell, Archibald-Henville, Barthram, McEveley, Smith, Waldon, Storey.

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