Cooper: Pressure is always on

Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper

First published in Sport Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Chief sports writer

IT is not very often Town go into a game at the County Ground where many would consider them second favourites.

However, Mark Cooper insists managing the team not expecting to get the result does not reduce the pressure on him.

Last season at this stage of the League Cup Cooper’s side beat Championship runners-up Queens Park Rangers with goals from two players no longer at the club, Nile Ranger and Alex Pritchard.

The season before they saw off tonight’s visitors Brighton and Hove Albion, Premier League Stoke and another Championship side, Burnley, in the same competition.

These results and how his team have played since the start of the season means that while the Swindon manager has plenty of respect for the Seagulls, he is not reducing the pressure on himself to guide his side to victory.

“(The) pressure’s never off as a manager, no matter who you’re playing,” said Cooper. “If you’re playing Man United, Chelsea, or whoever, the pressure’s always on. It certainly won’t be any less pressure for me.

“Pressure for myself to make sure my team is ready to play and ready to roll on Tuesday.

“I think the gap between the Championship and Premiership is huge. I think the gap between the Championship and League One is not so huge but we’ll soon find out won’t we.”

Brighton, like Cooper’s team, play a possession-based brand of football and are thought of, like Swansea, as a team known for that style.

The Town boss sees it as a growing trend amongst teams across the leagues for teams to try move away from traditional long-ball tactics long associated with English football.

“I think it’s refreshing isn’t it, that people have got the courage to play like that?” Cooper added.

“I think when things are not going well I think the easiest thing in the world is to boot the ball up the pitch as far as you can.

“We don’t think that’s the right way and there’s more and more clubs now going the same way. If we are going to produce good young players in this country it’s the best way to do it.”

“You can try and bring your own players through with a philosophy that you believe in. I think if you do it right and the supporters know the reason you’re doing it then they’ll get behind you.”

Town are hopeful Massimo Luongo will return to the side after the hamstring trouble that ruled him out on Saturday.

Andy Williams’ goalscoring form makes it very difficult to move him out of the starting XI so it is probable that Ben Gladwin, who has started the season well, is likely move to the bench for the returning Australian international.

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