SWINDON Town manager Mark Cooper has long since forgotten the experience of his visit to Bramall Lane earlier this season, and he’s not about to remind his players of the miserable trip ahead of the return meeting with Sheffield United tomorrow.
Town lacked incision, creativity and discipline in the first clash between the sides back in December, eventually slipping to a 1-0 defeat, but three and a half months on Cooper is not going to use that performance as a reference point as he prepares the Robins for the arrival of League One’s form side.
He said: “That was months ago, we don’t talk about that. We talk about the positives from the last three games and we show players what can happen if they do things right and what can happen if they don’t.
“We’re concentrating on the positives of the last three games and trying to instil that into them and making sure we give a really good performance on Saturday.
“We didn’t have any strikers for that Sheffield United game. (Nile) Ranger was injured so we went with Ryan Mason as the furthest man forward and it didn’t work, for one reason or another.
“That’s at the back of our minds now - what’s at the forefront is Bristol City, Preston and Tranmere and if we can put bits of each of those performances together we will be a difficult team to play against.”
Town are unbeaten in three matches going into the game this weekend and can achieve their longest run without defeat in League One this term with a win or a draw at the County Ground.
Cooper is unable to define exactly why Swindon’s form has improved significantly of late, not that he’s complaining.
“It’s difficult to pinpoint it,” he said. “I think there was a lot of soul-searching done after the Wolves game when we conceded four goals and didn’t play particularly well in the first half.
“We had a good discussion at half-time in that game and played well in the second half, had a good performance against the odds at Bristol City with 10 men, a very good performance against Preston and not a great performance in terms of dominating the game on Tuesday but one of desire and determination.
“If you can win when you’re not playing as well then that’s a good sign.”