SWINDON Town are expected to unveil Mark Cooper as their new permanent manager today, ending five-and-a-half weeks of speculation over who would fill the role.

The Advertiser understands Cooper has impressed the Robins’ board sufficiently during his brief time as caretaker to land the job full-time, having taken charge of first-team affairs following Kevin MacDonald’s departure on July 12.

The former Peterborough and Kettering boss met with chairman Jed McCrory and director of football operations Lee Power yesterday to discuss his future involvement at the County Ground.

Town are set to release a statement today confirming the appointment.

Meanwhile, Darren Ward has committed his future to Swindon Town after penning a new two-year contract at the County Ground.

The 34-year-old defender was previously tied to the club until next summer but has now agreed to a new deal - and a pay cut in the process - which will keep him with the Robins through to 2015.

Ward was the subject of transfer interest from Brentford over the off-season, and it is understood that the centre-back spoke to the Bees about a potential switch to Griffin Park.

However, with his family settled and the opportunity to move into coaching believed to be part of his new terms with Swindon, Ward opted to turn down the west London side’s advances and instead accept what he deemed a “considerable” decrease in wages.

The former Millwall man was not available to the press for interview last night, but he told the club’s official website: “It’s been common knowledge that other club were interested but under the circumstances and how happy I find myself here, I want to stay and I’m glad to have signed.”

In transfer news, Town are continuing in their efforts to recruit Dany N’Guessan from Millwall, while the Lions are believed to be interested in Swindon’s Paul Caddis.

A potential swap deal was mooted over the weekend but sources in south London have suggested that any move could be a long way off.

Elsewhere, former Swindon midfielder Tommy Miller yesterday signed on for Bury following his release by the Robins earlier this summer.

Finally, it is understood that Town will play Portsmouth in a behind-closed-doors friendly this afternoon.