SWINDON Town manager Mark Cooper has warned his players that they are playing for their futures at the County Ground.
The Robins chief is determined not to let this season fizzle out into nothing after admitting that the League One play-offs is probably out of their reach following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to MK Dons.
With 11 games of the current campaign remaining, including tonight’s visit of table-topping Wolves, Cooper wants his charges to force their way into his plans for next term.
Eighteen players are believed to be out of contract this summer and while talks have begun with controversial star striker Nile Ranger, the Town boss is yet to begin talks with anyone else.
The likes of Troy Archibald-Henville, Jay McEveley, Dany N’Guessan and Jack Barthram are all in the final year of the current deals.
And while finishing in the top six is an extreme long-shot, Cooper insists that there is still plenty to play for.
“Players are playing for their futures for next year,” said Cooper when asked how he intends on stopping this campaign from petering out.
“They have to make sure that they are in our thoughts for next year.”
The Swindon manager insists that the club are in no hurry to secure Ranger’s services for next term with the club having the option to extend his deal beyond the summer.
The former Newcastle United striker is out for the season after tearing his hamstring.
“We are speaking to Nile,” Cooper confirmed. “He has got a hamstring problem at the moment, but he is our player.
“We have an option on him for next year so there is no great urgency.”
Cooper also said that the club has not renewed Jacob Murphy’s loan after the Norwich striker’s temporary deal at the County Ground expired over the weekend.
“At the moment we won’t be extending that,” the Swindon manager said.
“We have got some players that are contracted to the club for next year and we need as the season goes a long to have a look at them to decide if they are going to help next year.”
Meanwhile, Cooper revealed that goalkeeper Wes Foderingham returned to training yesterday for the first time since he injured his groin a fortnight ago and could come in to contention for Saturday’s trip to Bristol City.
On tonight’s game with Wolves, who have set a new club record after winning eight successive matches, Cooper is hoping to upset the form book.
“Everyone will say that (it will be a comfortable Wolves win),” he said. “But how many times have you seen the apple cart being upset.
“We are going to go and try our best, try our hardest and we are going to try and ask questions of Wolves. We are focused on Wolves now, we are going to give it our best shot and see if we can cause an upset.”