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SWINDON Town are still waiting to hear back from Southampton regarding the availability of Jack Stephens.

The Robins had hoped to receive a reply from the Saints regarding their loan inquiry for the centre-back by the end of this week but discussions continue in the background, as the Premier League side decide whether or not to give temporary care of one of their most prized young assets to the League One club.

With central defence the area manager Mark Cooper and owner Lee Power most urgently need to strengthen ahead of the new season, which gets underway with the visit of Scunthorpe in 15 days’ time, the powers that be at the County Ground remain optimistic that they can land their man.

However, Cooper was not able to put a timeframe on when new arrivals might turn up in Wiltshire, saying: “There’s nothing at the moment. I think it will be a case of us getting a call and it will be ‘right, it’s done’.

“There’s no timeframe on it but obviously time is of the essence and the sooner we get the players in the better. We are short in areas – everybody knows that, I know that – but Lee is working hard behind the scenes to try to get them in as quickly as possible.

“I think the problem is (Southampton) really like him (Stephens). They really like him but it maybe they think the best benefit is for him to play more games rather than be on the fringes, hopefully. That’s what we’re hoping.”

So far, Swindon have added midfielder Anton Rodgers and defender Josh Lelan to their first-team squad this summer and, though he’d rather it didn’t happen, Cooper is wary that his transfer business could take until the very end of the window – which shuts on August 31 – to be completed.

“Obviously we brought Josh in from Derby and we’re just waiting on a daily basis. We could end up by the end of tomorrow having four new players, that’s how it could work,” he said.

“It’s difficult to put a timeline on it. I’ve said all along that ideally we don’t want it to be like last year, when we’re still adding players in the final week, but I’ve got a funny feeling that might happen. We just get on with it and do the best we can.

“We’re not in a position where we can go and spend £250,000 or £1million on a player and get it done straight away. We have to wait, but we’re not just going to go and sign anyone. We want to make sure we get the right one.”