DARREN Ward has continued to be a “true professional” despite finding himself out of the Swindon Town matchday squad of late, manager Mark Cooper has revealed.

Ward played in 45 consecutive games for the Robins prior to being rested for the trip to Bristol City two weeks ago. He missed the win over Preston North End last Saturday due to a family bereavement but was not selected in the 18-man squad which traveled to Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday night.

Cooper credited the veteran club captain for the way he has handled himself in training over the past fornight.

He said: “He’s contracted to the football club. He’s our player and he will continue to train very hard and give his best. If he’s called upon I’m sure he’ll give 100 per cent like he always does.

“He’s been fine. He’s a true professional, he gets on with his job - what he’s paid to do - and he’s been no trouble whatsoever.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less from Darren. Since I’ve been here he’s been a very good professional so I wouldn’t expect anything else from him and he’s caused no problems for the rest of the squad.”

Meanwhile, Cooper has pledged to use Lee Cox in the remaining seven matches of Swindon’s season after the midfielder impressed off the bench at Tranmere.

Cox, who has only made two substitute appearances for the Robins this term, is out of contract this summer and, even though he is unlikely to see his deal at the Coutny Ground renewed, Cooper thinks the former Inverness man deserves a chance to shine.

“He’s had a few niggles over the last couple of months with his back and things like that but he’s shown he is a good footballer and the reason why he was assembled as part of an expensive squad,” said the Town boss. “You can see why they brought him in and he gave us something the other night, definitely.

“We have to pay the players this year that are under contract and I am sure that he will feature before the end of the season.”