SWINDON Town manager Mark Cooper is not anticipating any new signings by the time Southampton turn up at the County Ground for a pre-season friendly on Monday evening.
Town are understood to be chasing four Premier League starlets on loan deals, including two centre-backs, a left-back and a forward, as they try to bolster their ranks before the new League One campaign, but midfielder Anton Rodgers, who penned a one-year contract with the club at the start of the week, remains the Robins’ only summer recruit thus far.
Cooper does not expect any further activity over the weekend though one of his targets, Saints defender Jack Stephens, will be in Wiltshire on Monday - and the Swindon boss has suggested a rather unique way of making sure he lands his man.
“I wouldn’t have thought there’ll be anything by the time we play them. Obviously I’ll try to lock him (Stephens) in the office on Monday night and keep him in there until the team coach leaves,” he said.
“I think (Town need to sign players) the sooner the better because once we get past Saturday there’s only three weeks until the season starts. We need to get them in so we can embed them into the way we do things.
“That’s the way it’s got to be because of the circumstances but we don’t moan, we just get on with it. We’re trying to teach the younger players. That’s what we’re concentrating on.”
Another player interesting Town - Liverpool full-back Brad Smith - was not included in the Reds’ 33-man party for their pre-season tour of the USA.
When asked by the Advertiser whether that could mean Smith’s arrival at the County Ground is imminent, Cooper said: “Let’s hope he’s coming down the M6 and M5 to Swindon.”
Meanwhile, Yaser Kasim underwent a scan yesterday to determine whether or not he requires an injection to help heal a nerve injury in his foot. Cooper stressed that the problem is not in the same foot as the broken bone which forced the Iraqi international to miss the end of last season.
“We don’t want to take any chances with it so we’re getting it scanned and if he needs a little jab in it to take away the nerve problem then we’ll do that,” said Cooper. “It’s just in between his metatarsals, a nerve from the hard ground. It’s the other foot from his other injury.”
Finally, of Tijane Reis’s long-standing knee problem, Cooper said: “I don’t think his knee is that good. He is back home getting treatment on it.”