MARK Cooper was pleased with the test faced by his Swindon Town players at Petersfield last night, as the Robins won 5-2 in their latest pre-season friendly.
Two goals apiece from Michael Smith and Will Randall, and one from George Barker, sealed a comfortable victory for Town, as Cooper fielded 17 different players at Love Lane.
Among their number were youngsters Randall, Lee Marshall and Curtis Da Costa, as well as Josue Antonio – and the Swindon manager was content by what he saw from his young charges.
“The players are getting fitter. Obviously the pitch wasn’t great so it was difficult to get the ball moving as much as we might have liked. In spells we played some really good football,” he said, “You can see we’re a couple of centre-halves short and everyone knows that, and we’re trying to get someone in but the players who played stood in admirably. I was pleased with it.
“There were no injuries, it was a good workout and we had a couple of kids off the conveyor belt.
“When they’re young boys it’s important you try to help them. They have to learn really quickly. I know I’ll probably get some stick for saying they’re young but they are young and we’re having to work with them morning, noon and night to help them get the basics.
“They’re learning and there’s some exciting kids coming through.”
Randall’s performance drew particular praise from Cooper, who said: “He’s got a knack of being able to take the ball in space, run at people and score goals. It’s not a bad knack to have at 17 years of age. I’m sure there’s more to come from him.”
Finally, the Town boss was happy with Barker’s display on his return from injury, saying: “We didn’t want to take any chances and turn his knock into a long-term injury, but he needed the run-out.”
Andy Williams missed the game with an infected toe, Yaser Kasim was absent due to nerve damage in his foot and Ben Gladwin was also not involved. Williams and Gladwin are expected to feature against Eastleigh on Thursday night but Kasim remains a doubt.