MARK Cooper has praised Andy Williams’s mental toughness during his long rehabilitation from a serious knee injury.
Williams, who looks set to lead the line for Swindon Town in League One this season, was packed off on loan to Yeovil Town in the early weeks of last season but returned to the County Ground in the autumn when he suffered cruciate ligament damage.
The 27-year-old frontman could have been forgiven, therefore, from taking things lightly when he returned to the Town squad for pre-season training but Cooper has revealed that the former Bristol Rovers man has showed plenty of heart and character, and that there are no obvious lasting psychological side-effects of his time on the treatment table.
Cooper said: “He’s trained every session, looks really fit and really strong and he’s been flying in training. Most League One teams would know he’s got something to offer if we play two up front.
“He’s very strong mentally. The physio hasn’t had to chase him at all, he’s just one that goes and does his work. At the end of the season he was flying. He’s had a couple of weeks off and then straight back into it, and I’ve not seen any sign of him letting up or pulling out of tackles. I’ve got no worries he’ll be flying come August 9.
“I think he was a little bit of a whipping boy for the manager who was here then (Paolo Di Canio). At the start of last season, when we decided we were going to play one up front, it just wasn’t suited to what Andy gives and with it looking like we’ll probably play two up front it will probably suit him.
“I think he’ll do great.
“It’s what we’ve been working on so far. Always we have something in the back of our mind that we can work on and resort to if that doesn’t work. It doesn’t have to be a three; it can be a two with a midfield player playing in between them as a sweeper. It’s very flexible.”
Meanwhile, Cooper anticipates some transfer activity at the County Ground during the second half of July.
“I think June is always a quiet month. With most clubs, not a lot of business is done in June,” he said. “When you get into July it starts moving and the closer you get to the end of July and the beginning of August, things start to speed up. We’ll be no different. I’m sure that over the next few weeks there’ll be a couple of players coming in and maybe a couple leaving.”