SWINDON Town manager Mark Cooper has been delighted by the way his inexperienced backline has stood up physically to their opponents in the opening week of the new season.

Prior to kick-off against Scunthorpe United last Saturday neither Jordan Turnbull nor Josh Lelan had made an appearance in the Football League, while Lelan was replaced on Tuesday night at Luton Town by Raphael Branco, who has made just 20 professional appearances.

But, alongside the more experienced Nathan Thompson, the Town defence has matched whatever has been thrown at them, much to the pleasure of their boss.

“If we are going to have any kind of half-decent season then they have to stand up and be counted. In a way I was over the moon that we had a few cuts and bumps and bruises because that’s how they get used to it,” he told the Advertiser.

“If you’re heading the back of Benno’s (Paul Benson) head you’ve got to toughen up. I’m pleased that Jordan Turnbull’s got a cut, I’m just disappointed it wasn’t his nose because he’s too good looking.

“Jack Barthram got a cut and there were loads of bumps and bruises, great.”

  • TOWN fans travelling to next week’s home match against Crewe are being warned about travel disruption on the rail network.

Planned engineering work means all lines will be closed, with fans travelling from Chippenham, Bath Spa, Kemble, Stroud, Stonehouse, Gloucester, Didcot Parkway and Bristol Parkway will be carried by rail replacement coach service throughout.

Those travelling from Westbury, Trowbridge and Melksham can also use a replacement coach service, but a change of coaches required at Chippenham.

Supporters travelling from Bristol and beyond can either travel by train to Bath Spa or Bristol Parkway for a coach, while those travelling from London and Reading can get a replacement coach at Didcot Parkway.