SWINDON Town’s decision to draft in Jack Stephens on loan was not a short-term plan, with manager Mark Cooper hinting a longer loan stay could be on the cards for the defender next season.

Having claimed in an interview last week that he would only be interested in running the rule over players who would feature in his plans for 2014/15 during the run-in to the current campaign, Cooper surprised many by drafting in the 20-year-old from Southampton on Thursday.

However, Stephens, who signed a four-year contract at St Mary’s in 2013, is not a stop-gap solution to an ailing defence, according to the Town boss, who intimated the towering centre-back may return next term if his current stint with the Robins goes well.

Stephens produced an impressive debut performance on Saturday as Swindon drew 0-0 at Bristol City. After the game, Cooper told the Advertiser that he was not after a quick fix with the signing.

“I went to watch him on Monday night and he did very well against Manchester City Under 21s. I felt if we brought him in he might add something to the defence, which he did, and it gives us a chance to look at him with a view to next year,” he said.

“Nothing we do now will be short-term. Whatever we do now will be looking at the long-term future of the club.”

When asked whether that meant further arrivals could be expected over the remaining weeks of the season, Cooper said: “If we get the opportunity to look at someone that we think could help us next year we’ll look at him.”

With regards to possible exits from the club between now and the end of the campaign, Cooper said: “Not at the moment. If people who are not playing want to go and get games that will be up to them.

“We’ve certainly not sorted anything out.”