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SWINDON TOWN: 'Wembley dream one step away'
WIN tonight and Swindon Town can start dreaming of Wembley.
That’s the message from Robins manager Mark Cooper, who isn’t getting carried away by the prospect of a trip to English football’s HQ just yet.
Town face Stevenage in the southern section area semi-final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, with the winners of tonight’s clash set for a two-legged meeting with either Peterborough or Newport County to decide who gets the chance to grace the hallowed turf at Wembley on March 30.
That means Swindon are at still 270 minutes away from a trip to the Home of Football, but Cooper has said that a place in the area final would justify thoughts of what might come next.
“It will do if we get through tomorrow,” he said. “We’re still a way from it but if you win tomorrow then I think then you can realistically and naturally start to think about it.
“Once the game starts tomorrow I don’t think they’ll think about that.
“They’ll think it’s another game and they just want to win and play as well as they can.”
Swindon last entertained Stevenage back in August, when Massimo Luongo’s stunning strike - at the end of a long passing move - secured all three points for Town.
Four months on, Cooper feels Boro are developing as a side.
“I think it will be a totally different game,” he said. “Back then Graham Westley had not long been back and he’s been trying to implement a completely different style of game.
“It’s taken him a while but you can see by their results - they went to Peterborough and won - that they can get results.
“I’m just focusing on winning the game and getting the club a little bit closer to Wembley.
“I think it’s a totally different team to what Graham’s had before. They’re trying to play football, they’ve got some good footballers in the team and it’s a different test to what it used to be.
“You’ve still got to be able to defend set pieces - they’re very clever and they’ve got a few good set pieces - we’ll have to be strong and mentally switched on.
“I’d be happy if we play as well as we did that day. I thought we kept the ball very well and I thought the goal was probably one of our best this season.
“It was 20 or so passes before Massimo’s goal, we played very well that day and if we can recapture that form we’ll go very close to winning.”
After a 12-day break from competitive action, Cooper expects his players to be refreshed for tonight’s tie.
“It gave us a chance to get a little bit of rest into the players and get them nice and fresh. We’ll see tomorrow night,” he said.
“Obviously I’d have preferred to have been playing on Saturday but it gave us a chance to rest one or two and it gave me a chance to go and watch Stevenage.”
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