SWINDON Town manager Mark Cooper lathered praise on Jay McEveley after the defender made his final appearance for the club in Saturday’s defeat to Rotherham United.

McEveley revealed after the game that he was set to move to pastures new over the summer after two years as a permanent fixture in the Swindon squad, and the former Barnsley man received a standing ovation when he was substituted in the 87th minute at the weekend.

As one of the senior members of a young squad, Cooper was thankful to the Scouser for making his life easier since being appointed Town boss in mid-August.

The Robins chief said: “He’s been fantastic. For me, as a manager coming in, he’s been a model professional. He’s tried his socks off every time he’s trained and played and you could see the desire from him to go out with a goal.

“Believe it or not, he asked if we could set that corner up yesterday (Friday) morning in training and it worked like that.

Unfortunately it was a couple of inches from being a fairytale ending for him but he has been brilliant for me and I sincerely wish him all the best.

“I’m sure it won’t be long before he gets fixed up.

“He’s thoroughly enjoyed this year. It’s been a totally different way of playing from what he’s used to and he feels he’s learning different thing every day. He’s been outstanding.”

With McEveley moving on, Cooper may need to recruit another experienced pro for next season. However, he stressed that he is not about to sign a player simply on the basis of the number of appearances he has made in the Football League.

He said: “It’s all well and good having experience but it’s got to be the right kind of experience. It’s no good having an experienced player who doesn’t really help the team. Whoever we bring in has got to be able to benefit the team and help the younger players around him.”