SWINDON Town loanee Jack Stephens says manager Mark Cooper has given his players real belief that they can hunt down Peterborough United and claim a League One play-off place.
Stephens, borrowed from Southampton three weeks ago, has yet to experience defeat in a Swindon shirt as his arrival has coincided with a run of three wins and a draw which has restored a sense of optimism to the County Ground.
However, the 20-year-old would not have the suggestion that he was the catalyst behind Town’s good form, instead heaping the credit on Cooper’s man-management.
When asked by the Advertiser whether he considered himself Swindon’s lucky charm, Stephens said: “I don’t know about that. Obviously I’ve come in and we’ve had four good results but I think that’s down to the manager. We’ve got a lot of young players here and he’s changed the formation and given us the belief that we can go on and reach the play-offs.
“We’ve just got to carry on now and keep doing really well.
“After the Bristol City result we thought ‘that’s a great result after what happened in the second half’. Then we had three wins in a row and after each win you start to think ‘we’re not too far from the play-offs.
“Peterborough keep slipping up. We can only concentrate on us but there’s a lot of positivity going around the changing room.”
Stephens is set to remain with Town until the end of the season, with his loan deal up on May 3 after the final match of the term against Rotherham United.
After four stellar performances, Swindon fans would no doubt be delighted to see him back in Wiltshire for longer next season but Southampton have sent scouts to watch Stephens’ every outing in a Robins shirt and there has been no discussions about a potential return just yet.
“They (Southampton) have just said they’re happy with how I’ve started and I’ve just got to keep going. There are six games left and they’ve said ‘keep going, keep playing as you are and we’ll revaluate it at the end of the season,” said the centre-back.
“It’s great to be here, great to play games and see how we are at the end of the season.”
Finally, Stephens paid tribute to goalkeeper Wes Foderingham’s superb recent form, saying: “I don’t want to be making mistakes but when you do, nine times out of 10 Wes is there to get you out of it. It’s brilliant to know he’s behind us and since I’ve been here he’s been great to me.”