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SWINDON TOWN: Cooper confident of no cup hangover
LAST TIME Swindon Town visited Deepdale the game turned into an ignominious affair.
Two-nil down inside 10 minutes, then manager Paolo Di Canio decided to haul off goalkeeper Wes Foderingham, who promptly thwacked a water bottle down the touchline with one swoop of his right boot and turned to hurl insults at the Italian.
Foderingham and Luke Rooney, who was substituted at half-time, spent the second period sat with the fans in the away end as Swindon lurched to a 4-1 defeat, after which Di Canio branded his stopper’s performance as “one of the worst” he’d seen from a professional.
All that came four days after a memorable evening in the Capital One Cup, with victory over Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.
A little over 12 months on, Town are in a similar position. The Robins will make the trek up the M6 just a matter of hours after a big midweek game against Premier League opposition. But Mark Cooper is not expecting to perform the same touchline histrionics as his predecessor.
“We lost, Chelsea won, we lost so we’re going to go and get right back at it,” he said. “You could say Swindon were thinking about playing in the next round of the cup but we’re out of the cup now and fully focused on the league.
“I’m not too worried about that. Preston have done very well, they’ve won four on the trot and they’ve not lost yet in the league.
“It’ll be a tough game for us. It’s a big club, a big crowd, the manager is used to getting teams promoted and I’m sure they’ve got an eye on promotion.
“It’s going to be a very difficult test for us.”
Cooper reserved particular praise for North End boss Simon Grayson, and the former Leicester defender’s track record for getting teams promoted out of League One.
“I only know Simon through playing against his teams. He’s a nice bloke and he’s got a record of getting teams out of this league. He’s done it with Leeds, Huddersfield and obviously he’s up there now with Preston,” he said.
“He’s an experienced manager but we’re going to concentrate now on what we do. They’re difficult to beat, they haven’t conceded a lot of goals lately, they play three at the back and they’ve got plenty of experience.
“They’re a good, resilient, hard to beat League One team.
“Teams usually change it for us but I’m not sure Preston will. Preston are in a really good vein of form. They’re at home so they’ll be viewing Saturday as an opportunity to get three points.”
There will be no Chelsea hangover, according to Cooper, who gave his players Wednesday off and followed that up with a light session on Thursday.
“We’re fully focused now on Preston,” he said. “It’s all died down now from the other night and I’m pleased in a way that we can now concentrate on League One football, which is our bread and butter. We’ve got to continue to pick points up.
“Physically we just have to take the strain off them and mentally we have kept reassuring them how well they have done. I was frustrated the other night as we hadn’t done as well as we could have done offensively, but Luke and I watched the game again and we were good.
“You probably forget you’re playing against John Terry and Gary Cahill and how hard it is to break them down.
“I’ve said to the players ‘for any team to get 70 per cent of possession at any point during a game against Chelsea you’ve got to be doing something right, and well played’.”
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