MARK Cooper expects to see his Swindon Town squad trimmed down to a more manageable size before next season, with the Robins boss anticipating four summer signings to make up a permanent playing staff of around 20.

Town currently have 35 professionals on their books, five of whom are on loan from other clubs, and 17 of those see their current contracts expire at the end of the campaign.

No negotiations have yet begun with those players who are hoping to earn an extended stay at the County Ground while budgets are finalised but, when questioned by the Advertiser on how he sees his recruitment drive shaping up over the coming months, Cooper revealed that cutting down the numbers in training would be a likely outcome.

“I’ve been at a game nearly every night this week. We’re doing our homework to try to make sure our recruitment is right for next year,” he said.

“I’ve got a big list but how many of them are actually feasible I’m not too sure.

“Obviously you’re aware of players who might be available and we leave it up to Lee. I’ll make my recommendations and see where we go.

“I think we’re looking for maybe four players to add to the squad. I think you look at your positions and you probably have four or five targets for each position. You’ll have A,B,C and D, start with A and work your way down.

“Some you can get tied up really quickly and more or less agreed and signed before (July 1). We might be in a position where, with any players that are at the higher end, we’d have to wait until right at the end to see if they get fixed up or not.

“We’ve got 16 players that will be under contract at the end of the season.

“I think it will be around 20. Coaching-wise, there is only myself and Luke and any bigger and it becomes a little hard to manage in terms of numbers we have to train.

“When everyone’s fit it’s a big number for us. We try to split it up. One day I’ll take defenders and Luke will take midfield players and strikers, and we’ll swap it round and do it like that.”