SWINDON Town may well have been as much as 10 points better off had it not been for a series of injuries this season, according to manager Mark Cooper.

Speaking ahead of his side’s trip to Leyton Orient in League One tomorrow, Cooper stressed that he was not looking to use Town’s extended casualty list as an excuse, but when comparing his selection problems to the relative tranquility experienced by O’s boss Russell Slade in that capacity this term, the 45-year-old suggested that stability or lackthereof can significantly influence the direction of a team’s campaign.

At some point or another this term, Cooper has been without Jay McEveley, Nathan Thompson, Grant Hall, Ryan Mason, Alex Pritchard, Dany N’Guessan, Nile Ranger, Yaser Kasim, Louis Thompson and Ryan Harley through injury - and the Town manager thinks that has taken its toll on his squad, who currently lie eighth in the table having accrued 45 points from 31 matches.

“They’ve probably got 15 or 16 players that they rely on and after that they’ve got some younger players. Speaking to Russell, what they’ve done is gamble on that strength of the nucleus and hope that they stay fit,” Cooper said of Orient.

“So far, so good for them - they’ve managed to stay fit whereas we’ve lost some of our key players along the way. That’s football, it happens. Orient have done well and they’ve managed to keep theirs fit, we haven’t and that’s probably a reason why we’re probably seven, eight, nine, 10 points short of where we could be.

“I’d never look for an excuse and I wouldn’t use that as an excuse. All I’ve said is that Leyton Orient have kept their players fit and ours haven’t. Whether that’s down to us coming together late as a group I don’t know. There are varying reasons but that’s the way it is. It’s not an excuse.”