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SWINDON TOWN: Cooper targets Walsall revenge
SWINDON Town will be looking for payback when they make the trip to Walsall tonight, according to manager Mark Cooper.
Back in October, two goals from Ashley Hemmings and one from Sam Mantom gave the Saddlers’ a comprehensive 3-1 victory at the County Ground, as Town were totally outplayed by their Midlands guests.
Fastforward three months and Swindon have an opportunity to set the record straight and, despite having watched his side win just twice away from home in League One this term, Cooper sees no reason why the Robins can’t pick up all three points at the Banks’s Stadium.
“We spoke about Walsall. They came here and gave us a bit of a doing,” he said. “They were very worthy winners on the night. We have to make sure we’re right and try to get a little bit of payback.
“They came and pressed us and invited us to play out from the back then took it off us in bad areas for us and scored three goals. We didn’t have enough on the night, we didn’t play well enough on the night to beat the way they pressed us.
“They were tactically very good.”
Walsall’s ability to hit Swindon hard on the counter-attack was the principle factor behind their success at the County Ground earlier in the campaign but Cooper is not about to change the way Town set out to play football to nullify that threat on the break.
“When you see them play they can counter-attack. They’ve got a system where they’ve got pace out wide and they try to break quickly. I’ve seen them play against Stevenage and they absolutely murdered them. Home or away they can hurt you,” he said.
“We play with three midfield players and we’ve done a bit of work on that today. Walsall have got their way and we’ve got ours and it’s about whose works best on the night.
“We’re still trying to do things the same way, within reason, and it’s about what happens on the night. If we go there and play as well as we can then we’ve got a chance of winning a game.
“We have to stick to what we believe in.
“We’re not going to change things drastically where we come up with something we’ve not worked on. We have to get the ball down and play at the right times, without taking risks, and hope our flair players perform on the night.”
Meanwhile, Cooper has to decide whether or not he can accommodate both Michael Smith and Nile Ranger in the same starting line-up after both scored against Shrewsbury at the weekend.
Smith bagged two goals on his debut, the second set up by Ranger, who netted in the 89th minute to send Swindon to victory. However, Cooper is loathe to change to a 4-4-2 from the start.
“I try to judge players on whether I’d want to play against them,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to play against them week in, week out but we do play 4-3-3 so we have to come up with a way that it’s not square pegs in round holes if we are to play them in the same team.”
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