THE strength of camaraderie amongst the Swindon Town squad is “unique” in the eyes of manager Mark Cooper.
The Robins get their League One campaign off and running with the visit of Scunthorpe United tomorrow afternoon, with Town entering the new term without a fanfare and with minimal expectation on their shoulders after a frustrating summer in the transfer market.
Some are predicting a relegation battle but Cooper seems confident that his players have the togetherness and spirit they need to hold their own in the division this term, as they attempt to emulate and perhaps better their eighth-place finish in 2013/14.
The Town boss said of the atmosphere in the camp: “It’s unique because of the age. What we try to do is create an atmosphere and a workplace where these boys can flourish. We have to not put too much pressure on them. We have to teach them to try to play a certain way or the way we think is right, and to do that there has to be a calm, confident atmosphere, with no recriminations if they give the ball away.
“We have to encourage them to want to go and get it again. It’s important that we create that atmosphere.”
On the whole, Cooper has been pleased with what he has seen from his charges in pre-season.
He said: “With younger players, they can adapt more to what’s being thrown at them. They’re not set in their ways and they’re open to different things. Whatever you tell them to do, they want to go and do it because they think what you tell them is right.
“It’s a lot easier with a younger set of players. People will say we need experience and who’s the leader and who’s going to guide them on the pitch.
“It might be the case we don’t have anyone but the more games they play, the more they become leaders.
“Hopefully we’ve put enough work into them by Saturday that they can fall back onto the information we’ve given them.
“It might be that it takes a few weeks, it might not, we might hit the ground running but it might take a few weeks.”