Christmas period won't define Town

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Mark Cooper Mark Cooper

SWINDON Town may face three of their League One promotion contenders in the space of eight days over Christmas, but manager Mark Cooper does not feel the festive period will be “definitive”.

Cooper, whose Robins side entertain Coventry City tomorrow before travelling to Brentford and Bradford before the turn of the year, feels 15 victories from Town’s remaining 25 league games will be enough to secure a play-off place.

And therefore, even if Swindon failed to register a single point from their yuletide triple-header, the Town boss thinks a top-six spot would still be well within their grasp.

“It’s a big Christmas period for us but it won’t be definitive because we have to get a certain amount of points which at the end of the season determines whether we get promotion or the play-offs,” he said.

“I’m looking at that end of the table now from where we’ve come and we talk about the play-offs now all the time. I think we need to win 15 games out of 25, I think that gets you in the play-offs.

“We’ve not set a target but 15 games gets us where we want to be.

“We’ll take every game and look at Coventry, we hope we get through that with no injuries, we’ll decide if we need to freshen people up who have played at their maximum for when we go to Brentford on Boxing Day.”

Cooper conceded that his team has been too timid to attack away from home in recent weeks, a scar he feels was caused by miserable defeats at Moss Rose and Boundary Park earlier in the campaign.

“Away from home (we’ve been too careful). The players went to Macclesfield and Oldham and didn’t perform properly and threw points away through being carefree,” he said.

“We had to do something, we had to put the handcuffs on them and ground them and make them aware that it’s not all about getting everyone forward and attacking.

“You’ve got a responsibility to defend as well, so we did that and we went to Colchester and won. We went to Crawley and we drew, we were on target to get a draw last week but we were sloppy.

“When you play like that and you don’t win or you don’t get anything the sense of frustration is galling. That was born out of our performances at Macclesfield, Oldham and other away games where we looked as though we could concede a goal every time a team attacked.

“This week there has been a lot of soul-searching, we know the players want to attack but we have to have the responsibility of they go on a run and give it away, they’ve got to get back.”

Comments (10)

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6:36am Fri 20 Dec 13

dazzastfc says...

Sorry cooper but now your just talking pure boll****...
I think most town fans would have looked at the next couple of months fixtures and thought this is going to be very hard....
So the next 3 game are massive not just for points but for confidence in the team..

If we get 10 points from the next 10 games i will be very shocked..
HOPE IM WRONG..
Sorry cooper but now your just talking pure boll****... I think most town fans would have looked at the next couple of months fixtures and thought this is going to be very hard.... So the next 3 game are massive not just for points but for confidence in the team.. If we get 10 points from the next 10 games i will be very shocked.. HOPE IM WRONG.. dazzastfc

7:06am Fri 20 Dec 13

stfc2012 says...

We are still in the mix. But lose the next 3 and we are not. Telling players that the next 3 games against top sides won't be paramount is beyond me. We have won 9 out of 20 so 15 out of 25 is doable probably not if we lose the next 3. So win the next 3 and jan looks promising!
We are still in the mix. But lose the next 3 and we are not. Telling players that the next 3 games against top sides won't be paramount is beyond me. We have won 9 out of 20 so 15 out of 25 is doable probably not if we lose the next 3. So win the next 3 and jan looks promising! stfc2012

7:37am Fri 20 Dec 13

avo says...

It baffles me when I read interviews like this.
.
We're basically reading about a manager talking of the very basics in football.
.
Basics that any of us are taught about at grass roots. Attack as a team, defend as a team, lose the ball, you win it back, etc etc.
.
I find it worrying whenever I read stuff like this being talked about in a professional set up. If the squad do not understand, or are not willing to implement the basic foundation stones of a team set up and work ethic, then you have to start questioning their ability to achieve anything. Slightly worried by interviews like this, and that's no dig at MC in particular, we've heard it all before, from some of our previous managers, and when you think back, none of those particular periods in our history are anything to write home about.
.
I still don't think we're talking relegation, but I find talk of promotion a bit of a pipe dream when our manager is giving interviews like this. I actually feel sorry for the bloke if this is the kind of team talk he's having to try and give on a regular basis.
It baffles me when I read interviews like this. . We're basically reading about a manager talking of the very basics in football. . Basics that any of us are taught about at grass roots. Attack as a team, defend as a team, lose the ball, you win it back, etc etc. . I find it worrying whenever I read stuff like this being talked about in a professional set up. If the squad do not understand, or are not willing to implement the basic foundation stones of a team set up and work ethic, then you have to start questioning their ability to achieve anything. Slightly worried by interviews like this, and that's no dig at MC in particular, we've heard it all before, from some of our previous managers, and when you think back, none of those particular periods in our history are anything to write home about. . I still don't think we're talking relegation, but I find talk of promotion a bit of a pipe dream when our manager is giving interviews like this. I actually feel sorry for the bloke if this is the kind of team talk he's having to try and give on a regular basis. avo

8:37am Fri 20 Dec 13

Oxon-Red says...

avo wrote:
It baffles me when I read interviews like this.
.
We're basically reading about a manager talking of the very basics in football.
.
Basics that any of us are taught about at grass roots. Attack as a team, defend as a team, lose the ball, you win it back, etc etc.
.
I find it worrying whenever I read stuff like this being talked about in a professional set up. If the squad do not understand, or are not willing to implement the basic foundation stones of a team set up and work ethic, then you have to start questioning their ability to achieve anything. Slightly worried by interviews like this, and that's no dig at MC in particular, we've heard it all before, from some of our previous managers, and when you think back, none of those particular periods in our history are anything to write home about.
.
I still don't think we're talking relegation, but I find talk of promotion a bit of a pipe dream when our manager is giving interviews like this. I actually feel sorry for the bloke if this is the kind of team talk he's having to try and give on a regular basis.
I agree, I think play-offs would be a massive over-acheivement this season but to be fair to Mark he would be slated if he talked about hoping to finish in the top 10.

At the end of the day, you, I and other fans expect to hear about ambition from the players and management, not mid-table respectability.

COYMR
[quote][p][bold]avo[/bold] wrote: It baffles me when I read interviews like this. . We're basically reading about a manager talking of the very basics in football. . Basics that any of us are taught about at grass roots. Attack as a team, defend as a team, lose the ball, you win it back, etc etc. . I find it worrying whenever I read stuff like this being talked about in a professional set up. If the squad do not understand, or are not willing to implement the basic foundation stones of a team set up and work ethic, then you have to start questioning their ability to achieve anything. Slightly worried by interviews like this, and that's no dig at MC in particular, we've heard it all before, from some of our previous managers, and when you think back, none of those particular periods in our history are anything to write home about. . I still don't think we're talking relegation, but I find talk of promotion a bit of a pipe dream when our manager is giving interviews like this. I actually feel sorry for the bloke if this is the kind of team talk he's having to try and give on a regular basis.[/p][/quote]I agree, I think play-offs would be a massive over-acheivement this season but to be fair to Mark he would be slated if he talked about hoping to finish in the top 10. At the end of the day, you, I and other fans expect to hear about ambition from the players and management, not mid-table respectability. COYMR Oxon-Red

10:05am Fri 20 Dec 13

old town robin says...

Well, to win 15 games we are going to have to maintain our home form, we will need to deal with most of the top teams that still have to come to the CG, it will be a tough ask and if we play like we did against Walsall and Orient then we can kiss goodbye to our chances. There is also going to have to be a drastic change to how we play away from home. Break that down to 10 home wins and 5 away and it's feasible But first Cooper has to get it right and go at them to win the match and not try to defend for 90 minutes to hang on for a 0-0

I think it was LR made the point yesterday that for the past few seasons we were always capable of beating anyone at the top, but would then mess up by losing to the fodder at the bottom. For the most part this season we have taken care of teams at the bottom, (Sheffield being the exception), but have not been able to get too many results against the top teams, although we have often dominated the play, our weaknesses at the back has let us down and that has cost us points.

To win 15 games will largely depend on what Power and Cooper are going to do in January to strengthen the squad and the return of injured players but as others have said I also disagree with Cooper that no points over Xmas will not be a problem. If we don't take any points between now and the New Year Crawley game it is not going to put us in any kind of position to challenge for that last play-off place. I would hope we can get at least 7 points from the next 4 games which would put us on 37 from 24. if we can then maintain that ratio or there a bouts of 36 from 22 (12 wins) it would probably be enough, not holding my breath on that one, but always the optimist.
Well, to win 15 games we are going to have to maintain our home form, we will need to deal with most of the top teams that still have to come to the CG, it will be a tough ask and if we play like we did against Walsall and Orient then we can kiss goodbye to our chances. There is also going to have to be a drastic change to how we play away from home. Break that down to 10 home wins and 5 away and it's feasible But first Cooper has to get it right and go at them to win the match and not try to defend for 90 minutes to hang on for a 0-0 I think it was LR made the point yesterday that for the past few seasons we were always capable of beating anyone at the top, but would then mess up by losing to the fodder at the bottom. For the most part this season we have taken care of teams at the bottom, (Sheffield being the exception), but have not been able to get too many results against the top teams, although we have often dominated the play, our weaknesses at the back has let us down and that has cost us points. To win 15 games will largely depend on what Power and Cooper are going to do in January to strengthen the squad and the return of injured players but as others have said I also disagree with Cooper that no points over Xmas will not be a problem. If we don't take any points between now and the New Year Crawley game it is not going to put us in any kind of position to challenge for that last play-off place. I would hope we can get at least 7 points from the next 4 games which would put us on 37 from 24. if we can then maintain that ratio or there a bouts of 36 from 22 (12 wins) it would probably be enough, not holding my breath on that one, but always the optimist. old town robin

10:34am Fri 20 Dec 13

pug ugly says...

Getting to the play-offs isn't the be-all and end-all of this season. Getting club stability is far more important. I'd be quite happy to see a more regular return to the fantastic football of early season and make do with mid-table. Patience is a virtue, guys!
Getting to the play-offs isn't the be-all and end-all of this season. Getting club stability is far more important. I'd be quite happy to see a more regular return to the fantastic football of early season and make do with mid-table. Patience is a virtue, guys! pug ugly

12:29pm Fri 20 Dec 13

LionelHutz says...

The amount of negativity amongst our supporters beggars belief. Just what did you all expect from this season with a huge slash in the budget and an almost completely new squad?

The first half of the season has surely exceeded all expectation, and yet still people moan and whinge and get on the players backs when they're playing badly.

Let's get behind the team tomorrow (no sarcastic chanting if things aren't going our way) and roar the team on to yet another home win.
The amount of negativity amongst our supporters beggars belief. Just what did you all expect from this season with a huge slash in the budget and an almost completely new squad? The first half of the season has surely exceeded all expectation, and yet still people moan and whinge and get on the players backs when they're playing badly. Let's get behind the team tomorrow (no sarcastic chanting if things aren't going our way) and roar the team on to yet another home win. LionelHutz

12:53pm Fri 20 Dec 13

avo says...

I don't see anybody jumping on players backs in these comments.
.
It is true we all want success, but most of us are realistic enough to know that having gone through a period like we have recently, that success is unlikely if all you guage it on is whether or not we gain promotion.
.
Some among us consider having a club to support and the league position we currently find ourselves in as success in itself so far.
.
The issue I have, is reading these sorts of interviews that on the one hand elude to talk of the play offs and possible promotion within the squad itself, and on the other hand seem to suggest that we have a squad of players that are failing to learn the basic principles of team sport. If you or I can grasp such principles at grass roots level as youngsters, then why is it proving so difficult for a group of players that are operating at professional level? Ability alone will win you nothing, without the core principles of the game being implemented on a regular basis!
.
I'm still clapping overall though, and I want the team to go back to the way they were playing at the start of the season, and if that means we lose as many as we win this season, then so be it, come May it will still be a successful season in my eyes. Some right royal entertainment thrown in along the way too.
.
The recent problem has been that in an effort to leak less goals, we've gone too far the other way and become very negative, so not only do we now have a squad of players who it seems are failing to grasp the basic ethic of the game, (MC's words not mine) they are now stiffling their natural ability too which all equates to a recipe for disaster!!
I don't see anybody jumping on players backs in these comments. . It is true we all want success, but most of us are realistic enough to know that having gone through a period like we have recently, that success is unlikely if all you guage it on is whether or not we gain promotion. . Some among us consider having a club to support and the league position we currently find ourselves in as success in itself so far. . The issue I have, is reading these sorts of interviews that on the one hand elude to talk of the play offs and possible promotion within the squad itself, and on the other hand seem to suggest that we have a squad of players that are failing to learn the basic principles of team sport. If you or I can grasp such principles at grass roots level as youngsters, then why is it proving so difficult for a group of players that are operating at professional level? Ability alone will win you nothing, without the core principles of the game being implemented on a regular basis! . I'm still clapping overall though, and I want the team to go back to the way they were playing at the start of the season, and if that means we lose as many as we win this season, then so be it, come May it will still be a successful season in my eyes. Some right royal entertainment thrown in along the way too. . The recent problem has been that in an effort to leak less goals, we've gone too far the other way and become very negative, so not only do we now have a squad of players who it seems are failing to grasp the basic ethic of the game, (MC's words not mine) they are now stiffling their natural ability too which all equates to a recipe for disaster!! avo

4:56pm Fri 20 Dec 13

dazzastfc says...

LionelHutz wrote:
The amount of negativity amongst our supporters beggars belief. Just what did you all expect from this season with a huge slash in the budget and an almost completely new squad?

The first half of the season has surely exceeded all expectation, and yet still people moan and whinge and get on the players backs when they're playing badly.

Let's get behind the team tomorrow (no sarcastic chanting if things aren't going our way) and roar the team on to yet another home win.
Why is it beggars belief.
We have a very tricky road ahead and this is a forum of some sort so people post things how they see it
[quote][p][bold]LionelHutz[/bold] wrote: The amount of negativity amongst our supporters beggars belief. Just what did you all expect from this season with a huge slash in the budget and an almost completely new squad? The first half of the season has surely exceeded all expectation, and yet still people moan and whinge and get on the players backs when they're playing badly. Let's get behind the team tomorrow (no sarcastic chanting if things aren't going our way) and roar the team on to yet another home win.[/p][/quote]Why is it beggars belief. We have a very tricky road ahead and this is a forum of some sort so people post things how they see it dazzastfc

7:45pm Fri 20 Dec 13

LionelHutz says...

dazzastfc wrote:
LionelHutz wrote:
The amount of negativity amongst our supporters beggars belief. Just what did you all expect from this season with a huge slash in the budget and an almost completely new squad?

The first half of the season has surely exceeded all expectation, and yet still people moan and whinge and get on the players backs when they're playing badly.

Let's get behind the team tomorrow (no sarcastic chanting if things aren't going our way) and roar the team on to yet another home win.
Why is it beggars belief.
We have a very tricky road ahead and this is a forum of some sort so people post things how they see it
It beggars belief because we are exceeding expectations. Not difficult to understand, really.
[quote][p][bold]dazzastfc[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LionelHutz[/bold] wrote: The amount of negativity amongst our supporters beggars belief. Just what did you all expect from this season with a huge slash in the budget and an almost completely new squad? The first half of the season has surely exceeded all expectation, and yet still people moan and whinge and get on the players backs when they're playing badly. Let's get behind the team tomorrow (no sarcastic chanting if things aren't going our way) and roar the team on to yet another home win.[/p][/quote]Why is it beggars belief. We have a very tricky road ahead and this is a forum of some sort so people post things how they see it[/p][/quote]It beggars belief because we are exceeding expectations. Not difficult to understand, really. LionelHutz

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