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Boss Cooper believes midfielder didn't want to commit to Iraq
SWINDON Town manager Mark Cooper believes Yaser Kasim turned down the chance to play for Iraq this week as he wants to keep his international options open.
Kasim had been called up to a training camp in Jordan ahead of his country of birth’s clash with Saudi Arabia last night but did not travel to the middle east, instead opting to remain in Wiltshire ahead of Town’s League One fixture against Notts County on Friday night.
When asked about his decision to remain on English shores, Cooper told the local media that the midfielder may not want to commit to a certain country at this stage in his career.
The Swindon boss said: “He was at training this morning so that was a good thing. We kidnapped him after the Rotherham game, put him underneath the new coach in a private compartment and whipped him away.
“I think he’s said he wants to keep his options open and at this time in his career it’s not the right thing for him to do.”
The Robins players returned to training yesterday after two days off following victory at Rotherham over the weekend, a mini-break which Cooper explained was scheduled before their 4-0 success at the New York Stadium.
“It was planned,” he said. “We’d had quite a few games and with the number of injuries we’ve got we tried to give them a bit of time so we gave them Sunday and Monday off, bearing in mind we’ve got a different week with a game on Friday.”
Having had the chance to watch the DVD of their Saturday win, Cooper still feels there is plenty for his side to work on as they look to break into the play-off places.
“I noticed that we can get better with controlling the game even more with the ball,” he said. “We looked a little bit more secure with the extra defender. As soon as you say we put an extra defender on the pitch people say it’s negative but I think it was a positive, it gave us more going forward.
“I enjoyed watching it again. You never enjoy it as much on the day because you’re worrying about the result but watching it again when you’ve got the result is enjoyable.”
Finally, the Town chief suggested that his team now have a “realistic opportunity” of making the semi-finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy southern section after being drawn to face Wycombe Wanderers in the last eight.
“We asked for a home draw and we’ve got one against a team in a lower league,” he said. “We’ll respect them but it gives us a realistic opportunity to get into the semi-final.”
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