MARK Cooper reckons it would be daft not to use a possible Wembley adventure to whet his players’ appetite ahead of tonight’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy trip to Peterborough United, but he’s stopped short of ramming it down the Robins’ throats.
Just 180 minutes stand between Town and a third visit to English football’s headquarters in four years, as they prepare for the first leg of the clash with Posh, and on the no-so-distant horizon is a first taste of Wembley of the majority of the Swindon squad.
Cooper is more than happy to use the possibility of a day out in north London as a motivational tool but he thinks his squad don’t need much more inspiration.
“I think you have to use it as a carrot because it’s a fantastic opportunity,” he told the Advertiser. “We’ve still got a few players here from a couple of years ago when they played a disastrous game against Chesterfield and they’re desperate to put that right. They probably didn’t enjoy that day as much as they should.
“We have to use it as a carrot but we don’t want to throw it down their necks too much and make sure we don’t go out and underperform because of the fear of failure.”
Cooper stressed that his players have not discussed the possibility of a trip to Wembley in too much detail this week.
“It’s natural but I’ve not heard too much about it,” he said. “They’re excited to go and play in a final, or a semi-final, and that it’s on telly and try to put on a performance. When you play you want people to watch and say ‘he’s a good player’ when they’re talking about you. That’s certainly why the players should be doing it.”
Peterborough’s London Road pitch has been badly affected by heavy rain recently and, with more wet weather forecast today, Cooper is expecting a difficult playing surface.
“That pitch would have to be bad for it to be as bad as what we’re training on but we should be used to it,” he said. “With the weather - there’s heavy rain forecast tomorrow - it’ll be down to what they do to get it on.
“If the rain’s too bad then who knows.”